- Title: Skating is a frosty love affair for elderly Hungarians
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (JANUARY 6, 2017) (REUTERS) ICE-SKATING RINK AT CITY PARK VARIOUS OF PEOPLE ICE DANCING VARIOUS OF FORMER ICE DANCER JUDIT BARTFAI PERFORMING PIROUETTES ELDERLY SKATERS ON ICE (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) ICE DANCER, JUDIT BARTFAI, SAYING: "For me this means everything, it is life. I am not joking. After recovering from life-threatening illnesses my first trip led here." VARIOUS OF MARTA PATAI AND LASZLO GOMBOS DANCING WITH EACH OTHER (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) ICE DANCER, MARTA PATAI, SAYING: "This keeps me in good shape as it makes me move every muscle. My partner and I go skating even in the summer." VARIOUS OF MARTA PATAI AND LASZLO GOMBOS DANCING WITH EACH OTHER (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) ICE DANCER, LASZLO GOMBOS, SAYING: "When I was 50 I was told to retire early due to various illnesses. To get over this, I thought I could perhaps disconnect this way as this is what I really love doing, so I decided to do ice-dancing. Today I am 70 years old, I know 17 dances and I learn a dance each year." VARIOUS OF ELDERLY SKATERS ON ICE
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 15:15
- Keywords: ice-skating Hungary elderly
- Location: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- City: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0015XY06RD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In sub-zero temperatures, dozens of Hungarian elderly people take to Budapest's beautiful City Park Ice Rink on their skates each morning to perform ice dancing, which keeps them fit and in good spirits.
The history of the ice dancers' group dates back to the 1950s. It includes former professionals as well as enthusiastic amateurs, who come together on one of the oldest and largest ice rinks in Europe, built in the 19th century.
"This keeps me in good shape as it makes me move every muscle," 70-year-old Marta Patai said.
She started professional figure skating as a child but gave it up as her ankle was too weak, only to pick it up 50 years later when she retired.
Her ice skating partner is Laszlo Gombos, 70, who started ice dancing after he recovered from prostate cancer.
"To get over this, I thought I could perhaps disconnect this way ... as this is what I really love doing, so I decided to do ice dancing," he said. In each of the past 17 years he has learned a new dance, and he the pair skate twice a week even in summer, when they visit a covered ice rink.
The skating keeps the seniors both physically and mentally fit, improving their balance and providing a social hub.
"For me this means everything, it means my life. I am not joking. After recovering from life-threatening illnesses my first trip led here," said Judit Bartfai, 73, who used to be a ballet dancer and a professional ice dancer in the Hungarian ice revue from 1959 to 1981.
The head of the ice rink Laszlo Barta said the older skaters were inspiring to young people in Budapest.
"It is good to see that it is possible to live a sporty life in old age and move the way they do, this sets an example for many young people."
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