Howard Magazine - Page 38 - Still Rolling (2)

Howard Magazine
- Page 38
Still Rolling (2)

costumes, from baby pink to Ravens’ purple, like those worn by ice skaters.


Her next event: The Stars on Wheels Invitational, a regional classic at the Wheels Skating Center in Odenton March 16-18. She’ll never outgrow the sport, Rosado said: “I’ll keep skating until I fall to the floor and can no longer get up.”


Quit competing? There’s too much of the tyke left in Megan Larko, who’s three times the age of some of her rivals on the rink.


“I like to play head games with them,” she said. “I’ll say, ‘You know, I’m old enough to be your mother’ — and watch their expressions. My original goal was to skate freestyle until I was 50, but I’m past that.”


Why stop? Three times in the past seven years, Larko has placed third at the nationals in freestyle, wowing judges with her salchows, axels and camel spins, the same moves that are done on ice.


“Since turning 50, I’m known not so much for skating well but for the fact that I still do it at all,” said Larko, a computer systems administrator at Fort Meade. “What’s neat is that this is a lifetime sport. I’ve seen people in their 80s and 90s out there skating with wheels on their walkers, while socializing with friends. They’re not doing fancy dance turns, just weight-bearing exercises that bring back fond memories — but don’t impact their joints.”


A onetime gymnast at Wilde Lake High, Larko took up roller skating in her mid-30s. Her first trip to the nationals, in 1999, ended badly. While performing an outer forward camel spin, a move in which one leg is parallel to the ground and the other spins on the skate wheel, she broke an ankle. In third place at the time, Larko finished fourth.


“Losing the medal bothered me more than the busted ankle,” she said. Three times since, she has ascended that podium, surpassing her wildest dreams.


“I never expected to place nationally,” Larko said. “I’ve met every goal I set.” Yet there she is at the Laurel rink, 10 hours a week, skating to organ music and honing her moves for crunch time. Her workouts have also paid off outside the rink.


“Four years ago, on a winter morning, I was leaving for work with a cup of coffee in my hand when I slipped on the ice,” Larko said. “I slid sideways, stuck one arm out, found my feet and stood back up without spilling a drop. It was the same kind of move that I do on skates. I thought, ‘That’s a major achievement.’ ”


Wherever the sport takes her, Larko’s performances will always be steeped in tradition: “Win, lose or draw, I celebrate with a hot fudge sundae — just because I went out and tried.”