Dr. Michaela Milani
Skating Director of Milani Research Complex, Head Coach of Jazzicals
Synchronized Skating Teams, Coach Senior, Junior, Novice Teams
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Michaela Milani was seven years old when she saw
Peggy Fleming on TV in the Olympics and decided that she wanted to ice skate.
Michaela won the Juvenile Division at Southern Sectionals when she was eleven
years old, and was the Intermediate Silver Medallist the following year, and the
Novice Silver Medallist two years later.
Her parents took her to a competition in Michigan when she was fourteen years old
and Michaela saw precision skating for the first time. She wanted to join the team
right then and there! Her father, well-known research scientist Dr. Quentin Milani,
spoke with Dr. Richard Porter, who had started a skating team called the Hockettes
in 1954 in Ann Arbor to keep teenagers involved with figure skating. Dr. Porter was
convinced that someday the sport of precision skating would grow and involve
thousands of skaters around the world.
The Milani family decided to move to Ann Arbor so that Michaela could join the
Hockettes. She skated in the world’s first precision skating competition in 1976.
Her father joined the faculty of University of Michigan to continue his research in
sports medicine by studying figure and hockey skaters. He became a pioneer in the
study of viral syndromes that often devastate sports teams. When Michaela
graduated from high school, she went to the University of Michigan and earned a
Bachelor’s Degree in Child Psychology and a Master’s and Ph.D. with a thesis on
Sports Psychology and Children.
While she was in college, she skated with the Hockettes, and continued to coach
both singles and teams in Michigan after she graduated.
Her parents moved back to North Carolina, and in 1986, Michaela decided to return
to her childhood home to be Head Coach at a former roller skating rink in Cary that
had been remodeled into an ice rink.
In 1988, Coach Michaela put a small team together that she called ‘Jazzicals,’ a
combination of two words, ‘jazz,’ her father’s favorite kind of music, and ‘musicals,’
her mother’s favorite form of theater.
However, in 1989, Dr. Quentin Milani and his wife Lisette were killed in a car crash.
The twenty million dollar financial legacy left by Dr. Milani to Duke University was
used to build the state-of-the-art Milani Research Complex, the training headquarters
of the world-ranked Jazzicals Synchronized Skating Teams. Coach Michaela is the
Skating Director of the MRC, and the Head Coach of the Jazzicals.