When Gaar Adams isn't working in the admissions office of New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), he can often be found chilling out at a local ice rink. The member of the Abu Dhabi Figure Skating Team talks about how a serious injury triggered his passion for the sport.
You're sort of a jack-of-all-trades at NYUAD. What do you do?
I have a multifaceted position in which I work in admissions, academic affairs and student life. All sorts of things.
What's the admissions process like?
NYUAD just started in September and we had about 8,000 to 9,000 applications for 150 spots. We have candidate weekends, where top applicants come in on different weekends to take classes, have interviews and see if NYUAD is a fit for them, or a fit for us. I help host them and give tours.
What first got you interested in figure skating?
I was a nationally competitive gymnast in the US until a serious spinal injury at 13, when I fell on my neck in the gym. After spinal fusion surgery, four months in a spinal halo, and nearly becoming a quadriplegic, I was told I couldn't do gymnastics anymore. So after my recovery, I took up figure skating at 14 and progressed quickly. I skated competitively for four years in high school before largely hanging up my skates during college.
People passionate about figure skating don't often migrate to the Middle East.
I studied Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University and lived in Yemen for six months. Obviously, I couldn't skate then. I moved here in July. While we have an Olympic-sized rink here in Abu Dhabi, there's not the selection to buy skates. In January, I got new skates shipped to me.
And now you're back to being a regular?
Now that my schedule has evened out. It's nice to know I can train for hours on the weekend in the rink. It's something that's going to be part of my life from now on, and augmenting my work.
I am going to do some competitions. I haven't competed in years. There's one in the Philippines in the fall, and I'm aiming for that as kind of my big welcome back to the sport.
Do your colleagues from NYUAD ever join you at practice?
None of them skate too much. It's kind of funny to go with people who aren't the best. I kind of get a kick out of teaching and coaching them. People always need pointers on the ice.