In 1986, Dr. Michaela Milani, a child psychologist and an alumni of the Hockettes
precision skating team in Ann Arbor, Michigan, moved back to her hometown of
Raleigh, North Carolina and accepted the position of Head Coach at an ice rink in
Cary, North Carolina. In 1988, Coach Michaela put a small precision skating 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.
During their first season, the Jazzicals medalled at recreational ice skating
competitions in the South. Two members of that original Jazzicals team are still
involved with Jazzicals: Jems Wilson is an assistant coach for the Jazzicals Novice
and Junior teams, and Emma Ruth Long still competes as a member of the Senior
Tragically, in 1989, Coach Michaela’s parents, Dr. Quentin Milani and his wife Lisette
were killed in a car crash. The financial legacy left by Dr. Milani to Duke University
was used to build the state-of-the-art Milani Research Complex (MRC), a sports
medicine reseach facility which includes an ice rink. Their daughter was invited to
become the Skating Director of the MRC.
In 1989, Mr. Jason Fielding, an IBM computer programmer and champion ice dancer,
joined the staff of the MRC and along with Coach Michaela coached the newly-
formed Preliminary team to the first-ever Sectional medal for a Jazzicals team, the
The Juvenile team was added in 1990, and in 1991, became the first Jazzicals team
to qualify for the United States National Precision Skating Championships.
Unfortunately the young team placed last at Nationals, but had a good time
In 1991, Jazzicals added an Intermediate team and Novice team. The Intermediates
won the first Jazzicals National Gold Medal in 1993, the same year that the Juvenile
team also won National Gold.
The Junior team was added in 1994, and in 1995, became the first Jazzicals team
selected to represent the United States at an International Competition in Finland.
In 1995, the Senior Team made their debut, and by 1997, had earned a trip to Russia
where they won the first-ever Jazzicals International Medal, a Bronze.
Jazzicals Adult teams also began competing in 1995, and in 2001, qualified for
Nationals and won a National Bronze Medal.
In 1998, the first year the sport was renamed "synchronized skating," the Icepack, a
Collegiate team, was started at North Carolina State University by Jems Wilson.
Jazzicals recreational teams, coached by Ms. Nancy Green, still compete all over the
South and in the annual Recreational Skating Championships, and have won many
medals. These recreational teams offer skaters the opportunity to compete in
synchronized skating just for fun and experience.
(written by Emma Ruth Long and Jems Wilson—synchro sisters forever! Go Jazzicals! Never give