On any given Wednesday evening, the Oaks Park Skating Rink becomes a playground for the extended Robinson family who arrive shortly before 5pm to prepare for evening practice. As the Robinson cousins enter the building, they greet one another as if months had passed since they last saw each other. Little voices mingle with grown up ones as the family discusses which disciplines they will practice.
The Robinson family experience is like that of many other skating families in the Pacific Northwest. Amy Robinson Hamblin (pictured right) was the first skater in the family. When she was nearly 11, she came to a public session at a local rink in New Jersey. Shortly after, she joined a highly successful figure skating club where she was fortunate enough to have early exposure to great skaters, including World Champion Scott Cohen whose graceful movements helped hook her on skating. Over the years, Amy tried the disciplines of Figures, Loops, Freestyle, Precision, American Team, and Solo Dance.
Other family members soon followed suit; after sitting on the sidelines for a year, mother Leslie Robinson (pictured left), then in her 40s, decided to give Figures and Dance a try. She immediately fell in love with the sport and the freedom and fun it provides. Leslie’s other daughter, Emily Robinson MacKay (pictured below), also decided to begin skating at a young age. Emily loved to watch from the side of the rink and imitate the skaters on the floor. When she finally entered into club, she tried her hand at Freestyle, Figures, Loops, Creative Solo Dance, Precision, American Team, and American Solo.
Eventually, the Robinson daughters grew up and started families of their own, continuing the tradition of roller skating. Amy’s boys, Charlie, David, and Bobby were all introduced to skating at an early age. Amy began teaching at the Oaks Park Skating Rink when Charlie was just two years old. The boys spent many hours hanging out, making friends, and learning all about skating life. Emily’s girls, Annie and Susie, were also exposed to skating at an early age. Emily continues to compete and to work in the events and promotions department at Oaks Park.
Leslie’s other daughter, Leah, has a daughter, Eleanor Siebert, who spent some time competing and working at the Oaks for many years. She qualified for Nationals and skated Figures, where she performed well and placed in the middle of her division. Eleanor comes from a long line of skaters on her father’s side as well. Her father, Michael Siebert, skated Dance for a short time with Amy. Grandparents Lloyd and Judy Siebert-Collier, aunt Amy, and uncle Brady also skated. The family was a driving force behind the Oaks Figure Skating Club for many years.
Amy’s husband, Kevin Hamblin, has even taken an interest in skating. He and Charlie spent two years as members of the Oaks Speed Skating Club. Kevin has received proficiency pins in the disciplines of Speed, Figures, and American Dance. He regularly participates in skating shows with the Oaks Junior Club and enjoys attending Saturday morning classes.
A significant achievement for the family came at the 2012 National Meet when Emily won Classic A Solo Dance and Annie won Primary A Solo Dance. This is the first time on record that a mother and daughter have been national champions during the same National meet. The Robinson family has a history of success on both a Regional and National level, especially in recent years:
- Leslie had a successful 2009-2010 season including a Solo Dance win at the Valley Invitational. In 2012, Leslie qualified for the final event in Golden Women’s Solo Dance.
- Amy won Bronze in Esquire A Women Solo Dance at the 2010 National Championships and placed fourth at the 2011 National Championship.
- Emily won Gold in Classic A Solo Dance at the 2010 and 2012 National Championships. She also placed in Premier Figures at Nationals.
- Charlie began having Regional and National success at the age of eight and has been awarded 21 National medals: 12 Gold, 4 Silver, and 5 Bronze. Charlie won Gold in five of his seven events at the 2011 National Championships. In 2012, Charlie added three gold and one silver to his collection. Charlie has won his Figure division every year since the age of 8, skating Primary through Elementary divisions.
- David & Annie David won Bronze medals in Primary Loops and Primary Loops/Figures combined. He and his cousin, Annie, won a Silver medal in Juvenile A Pairs at the 2011 Nationals. In 2012, Annie and David (pictured above) won Juvenile A Dance and placed third in Juvenile Pairs. Annie won Gold in Primary A Solo Dance at the 2011 and 2012 National Championships.
- Bobby & Susie, the youngest members of the Robinson clan, successfully skated their first Regionals in 2012. Bobby placed second in Juvenile C Boys Figures and Susie qualified with a bronze medal in Elementary A Creative Solo Dance.
The Robinson family truly believes in the adage, “The family that plays together stays together!”