Olympic hope among figure skaters preparing for US championships
Skaters train on the Ice Sheet in Ogden for the US Figure Skating Championships on Friday. (Greg Anderson, KSL-TV)
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OGDEN – Figure skaters in Ogden started New Year’s Eve training for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the first week of 2022 on Friday. And at least one of them has their sights set on the Olympic Games in February.
Before any competition, the stakes can seem high and the pressure overwhelming. But the countless hours of training on the ice beforehand mean everything.
2022 is a particularly big year for Mitchell Friess. Depending on this week’s results at the US Championships, the University of Utah graduate could represent Team USA at the Olympics in February.
He said, “it’s a little intimidating,” but knows that he’s done “a lot of hard work. And a lot of time”.
“It takes everything. You have to be able to turn, you have to be able to skate. You have to be able to do everything,” said Friess.
“If you’ve worked on it long enough, it just comes by itself,” said Abigail Ross, 17. “But there’s a lot of hard work in it.”
Ross is a high school graduate who has competently skated since she was two and says she can “skate better than I can run”.
The Olympics are not in their immediate plans. After competing in the U.S. Championships, she plans to focus on preparing for college. And skating has taught her all her life that mistakes go with territory.
“Felling is part of skating and you can’t achieve anything if you don’t fall,” she said.
Kai Kovar, 15, also started skating when he was just 2 years old and is preparing to compete in the championships next week. He says he has “always had a motivation and passion to be in this sport.”
“I feel like the hardest part is more the emotional part. Keeping yourself in check. Being able to handle the pressure.”
Trainer Amanda Kovar knows that patience is essential for these three athletes. Over the years she has seen the sport evolve rapidly and the level of competitiveness rise.
“We’re working hard today to be great tomorrow,” she said. “You just have to remember to go after every competition and do your best.”