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The Life of a Figure Skater

Have you ever seen an Olympic Figure Skater land a triple jump and wonder how much practice and dedication it took? The practice regiment of these skaters is nothing but intense and exhausting. Not only do these skaters spend hours on the ice, but they also spend hours conditioning and maybe even schooling. Then there’s the fact that some have to have jobs so they can earn the money that they need to travel and be a great skater. What really goes on in the life of an elite figure skater?

Just like gymnast, most figure skaters peak between the ages of 16-25, with the males having a longer peak period than females. This means that once they reach that age, they need to already be competition and a national and international level if they want to go to Worlds or the Olympics. In America, skaters are required to receive an education just like every other kid in the United States. This is different than some other countries where they just groom the kids they think have the potential to become World and Olympic Champions. Along with training, our Olympic hopefuls must fit in school if they are under 16 or 17, depending on the state. Dropping out of school would look bad for the skater’s image, which is also very important. Because of this law, many elite figure skaters choice to be homeschooled. One of these skaters, Ashley Cain, is enrolled in Texas Tech Correspondence School. Similar to this, Gracie Gold, who is the U.S. National Silver Medalist, attends University of Missouri High School, which is an Online School. Other skaters, like Agnes Zawadzki, attend brick and mortar schools while trying to keep up with their training.

Along with school, there is the training that the skaters must do. Many people would think that the only type of training a figure skater would have to do is on-ice stuff, but that is so far from the truth. While figure skaters do skate a lot, they are also involved in other things. Every skater that I have heard of does some sort of off-ice conditioning. Some are involved in a program made specifically for skating while other people may just have a personal trainer. No matter which option they have chosen, their workout includes abs work, strengthening, stretching, cardio, and everything else. Many skaters are also involved in ballet to help with artistry and technique. They can either take this class at a dance studio or their rink may have a ballet class that is designed to help skaters.

In between ballet, off-ice, and on-ice, there are also skaters that have to work. Not only do these athletes have to pay for coaching, there is also expense for choreography, music, travel, hotels, entrance fees, and costumes, which alone cost thousands of dollars. There are also coaches that his have their skaters pay for their travel expenses for out of town competitions. This adds up quickly so a lot of skaters have to have a job. Many chose to work at their rink. Ashley Cain, for example, is a Junior Coach with Skate School and parents coaches private lessons somec. Other skaters my chose to get a part-time job at a restaurant or store like other people their age, but either way it’s just another addition to the mountain of things that they already have on their plates.

Every skater has their life cram packed with school, on-ice, off-ice, and even jobs. It seems pretty amazing to me that these athletes are capable of walking, let alone landing triple jumps in the intense atmosphere of competitions. I believe that all skaters that are out there doing this are champions, not just the ones with a gold medal around there neck. Although that is nice too!



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