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    Posted February 9, 2014 by
    Crookston, Minnesota
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Got a future Olympian?

    More from anonymousMN

    Future Gold Medalist?


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     anonymousMN told me, 'She is 14 and began skating when she was 4-years-old. She wasn’t very graceful until she was about 8-years-old. In fact, we tried to get her to try hockey instead. She chose to stick with figure skating and began competing in basic skills competitions. She has been competing with a synchronized skating team for 6 years and competing as an individual skater for 5 years. She made the varsity synchro line in 7th grade (the earliest you can try out). Her goal is to compete at a national level. She is a long ways from that goal, but she is very dedicated and judges really seem to love her personality. She skates most of the year, even though it’s a struggle to find ice time and we have to go to 3 different rinks. We drive 22 miles to be at her lessons by 6:30am, sometimes earlier. She participates in track in the spring and cross-country in the fall to fill her off-ice time.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    As any parent of a competitive skater knows, it involves a lot of early mornings, a huge time commitment, countless trips to sharpen skates, making sure they have tights without holes, hair accessories, plenty of bobby pins, hair spray and glitter, cold rinks, long weekends and more.


    Growing up in Phoenix, it wasn't something I was used to. When my daughter started skating, she skated like a hockey player and was a train wreck on skates! But it didn't matter, because she loved it and had fun. She never gave up and over the years, she found her grace. She had difficult years and even skated with a couple of stress fractures in her foot. We still couldn't keep her off the ice.


    On our vacation to Orlando one year, any open space she could find, she was practicing jumps and missing the cold. She loves going shopping only if the aisles are big enough to practice her doubles. She doesn't mind missing out on birthday parties, youth group trips or hanging out like most teenagers. She chooses to spend her time on the ice or researching routines and music.


    We have spent the last 4 weekends in hotels for competitions. We drove through a few blizzards. There are times that she has to practice in an unheated arena when it is -40. We get up at 5am to drive 22 miles to lessons. It can be exhausting and I forgot what it feels like to sleep in. It's all worth it when you watch them work hard and realize that their dedication pays off and inspires them to do more. They need to have fun and love being out there. It really does teach important life lessons that they don't even realize yet.


    We have spent the last three days in a rink and are laying in another hotel getting ready for another 5am wake up call, watching Olympic skaters and I am proud to be the parent of a skater who has the same love and dedication to something as the role models in Sochi!

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