JOHN JACOB “ROCKY” ROCCABELLO, JR. (Athlete, Class of 2002)

 

Deaf since birth, Rocky has achieved success in two disparate sports, distance running and figure skating.

He has run marathons in such places as Louisiana and Cape Cod, run up New Hampshire’s Mount Washington at least twice, and competed (and often won) in road races throughout Warren and the rest of Rhode Island, as well as Eastern Massachusetts.

However, John’s greatest success has come in ice figure skating.  Competing for the Providence Ice Skating Club, he earned medals for figure and dance as early as the late 1970s.

 

But in the last two years, Rocky expanded his skating horizons and in 2001 finished fifth in his age class at the United States Adult Figure Skating Championships.  In 2002 he placed third in the New York Winter Skating Classic and then hit the jackpot when he became the Gold Medal Champion at the United States Adult Figure Skating Championships.

It is especially noteworthy that the judges of this latter title win did not know that Rocky couldn’t hear the music that accompanied his Gold Medal performance.

 

(In 2005, Rocky finished in first place at the U.S. Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships, competing in the Adult Bronze Over 55 category. He planned to compete in the National Adult Figure Skating Championships representing the Skating Club of New England based in Fall River, Massachusetts.)

 

Picture from Hall of Fame archives