Ice Network

Seybold-Catron continues to carry Olympic spirit

1988 Olympian remains positive despite undergoing multiple surgeries
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Natalie Seybold-Catron's husband and daughters have provided her with steady support during trying times. -Courtesy of Natalie Seybold-Catron

The East Coast has experienced a sweltering summer heat wave, but Natalie Kim Seybold-Catron has managed to keep cool, spending most days teaching at IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pennsylvania. It's a comfortable and exhilarating environment for the 1988 Olympian, who enjoyed a wealth of success during her career.

As the 2018 Olympic Winter Games approach, the five-time U.S. pairs medalist marvels at how this version of the Games will mark 30 years since she and her brother, Wayne Seybold, competed in Calgary.

"Our town started a fundraiser for us and raised the funds for us to skate," said Seybold-Catron, who grew up in Marion, Indiana. "Our high school principal was one of the people instrumental in getting it started. Some of the money raised was used for our parents to come to the Olympics. It was just amazing."

A lifetime of hard work earned the siblings an Olympic berth. When the two of them took the ice in Calgary, they wanted to make sure they enjoyed the moment.

"We didn't have any pressure and it was a great experience," Seybold-Catron, 51, said. "We knew that our parents and brother were in the audience and that they sacrificed so much for us to get there. Our high school principal was there as were a couple of friends who had been a huge part of our getting there."

After retiring from competition in 1989, the brother-sister duo skated in shows for several years. Once her touring responsibilities were complete, Seybold-Catron moved back to Indiana, where she reconnected with Mark Catron, a former hockey player who she remembered from her time training in Delaware. After about a year of dating, they married and started a family.

Six years ago, the couple, along with daughters Kaitlyn and Ashley, left Indiana and returned to Delaware. Kaitlyn, now 17, skated for a while, reaching the intermediate level, before opting for soccer. Ashley, now 15, is also a soccer player.

Life hasn't been all easy for Seybold-Catron. She has had several surgeries over the years to deal with brain tumors. Scott Hamilton took time to speak with her at length before her last procedure in 2006. As of her most recent MRI, everything looked good.

She does, however, have some lasting effects. Her face is numb on the right side, she lost the hearing in her right ear, and her balance isn't conducive to skating. Despite those obstacles, she teaches one day a week at the Pond Ice Arena in Delaware in addition to her regular duties with IceWorks.

The joy of watching her students accomplish new goals helps keep her inspired.

"I got to skate for 30-some years and I'm still alive, so I feel pretty lucky," she said.

When asked if she misses the spotlight of figure skating, Seybold-Catron's answer is a decisive "no."

"I had my time and I treasure it, but I love being a mom," she said. "When I go to soccer games, I'm Ashley's mom or Kaitlyn's mom. I like not having notoriety."