EDMOND, Oklahoma (KFOR) – As America’s top athletes compete in the Beijing Winter Games, young Olympic hopefuls start here on the Oklahoma City subway.
“You get on the ice and you skate really fast and the wind blows in your face and you look so elegant,” Maria Sidarova said.
At the Arctic Edge in Edmond, Sidarova and other young skaters have been chasing their dreams for as long as they can remember; some since the age of 3.
Neither ice nor long hours can cool their fiery determination.
“We get up early because a lot of athletes go to school so they train before and after school,” coach Jackie Brenner said. “They do ballet lessons. They do off-ice conditioning for their extra training. They are on the ice up to four sessions a day and training to achieve their dreams.
“I want to go to the Olympics and I want to go to national development camp,” Sidarova said.
For now, these athletes roam the country, competing at different levels, feeling the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
“Continuing to challenge yourself to live and deal with adversity is, I think, an important part of life,” Brenner said.
For now, they admire the athletes at the winter games.
“It really inspires me,” Sidarova said.
“I think they, like you said, become stronger individuals after growing up on the ice because they learn so much here and I’m just super grateful to be a part of that, you know?” Brenner said.
There are scholarships and other opportunities for children to get involved in skating.
At the Arctic Edge, young hockey stars also train.
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