Going for the Gold - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Going for the Gold

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

The Winter Games in PyeongChang are all about grabbing the gold.

But before these figure skaters were competing on a world stage, they were beginners just like you and me.

Up before dawn, these skaters are ready for the ice.

Cross-Overs, jumps, spins, and more, all on the list of things to work on. 

The basics may be the same, but the reason each skater stepped into the rink is unique.

"I tried other sports and I hated it. I had to last through it all. Then I saw the Olympics on TV and I was like I want to do that. My mom signed me up for a 4 week session here, and then I ended up loving it so I continued," said 14-year-old Abigail Johnson. 

Despite many falls, they get right back up to chase one feeling. 

"There's sort of power you feel when you step on to the ice.  You can skate really fast, and jump around and do whatever you want and it's a lot of fun," said Lexi Barney, who has been skating for 13 years.

"It's the smell of the ice. I love gliding across the ice and feeling the wind on my face," said long time skater and coach, Jenni Flores. 

As Team USA fights for medals overseas, they're getting support from many here in Central Illinois.

"It's awesome! Figure skating is so hard and it's such a tough sport," said Barney.

Flores added, "The skating world is so small. The chances are that you probably know someone in the Olympics as a skater. I know I know two of the coaches personally who took skaters this year. So, not only are you rooting on friends, they're almost like family. Nathan Chen actually came here in 2011 as our guest skater and then two years ago Bradie Tennell was our guest skater."

To be a figure skater, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, early mornings, and late nights. 

The Owens Center has plenty of coaches and pro skaters to help you along your journey. 

The rink holds public skating, and lessons for all ages and skill levels. 

For more information click here. 

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