Claire Toh (10) started skating because her kindergarten friend was playing hockey and her mom suggested figure skating for her. She explains that her mom “thought that it was a good idea because [she] wouldn’t get tanned…and [she] would fit the Asian stereotype.”
Figure skating is a sport where athletes perform jumps, spins, and footwork on ice in singles or in pairs. It was first started by utilizing ballet moves with additional techniques such as leaps and turns on ice. “Figure skating is a mixture of art and sport,” says Katarina Witt, a German figure skater. figure skating was featured in the 1908 and 1920 Summer Olympics and it became an official Winter Olympics Sport in 1924. From then, figure skating became one of the most popular Winter Olympic sports.
Claire tries to skate three days a week for three hours per day. For weekdays, she skates no more than one and a half hours but on weekends, she skates two sessions that are one and a half hours each. Claire explains that when practicing, there are many different parts aspects to her training. After warming up, Claire practices footwork, jumps, and spins, before ending her session by practicing her long or short program.
Despite her high skill level, Claire has had to face hard times in the past. From ankle swelling to bruises and wounds from falling, she has had a hard time maintaining passion for her sport. “There was a time when I was facing a huge obstacle transferring from freestyle skating into novice skating. I had a hard time getting used to the harder choreography and learning all the new moves,” says Claire.
When she thought of giving up, she realized that because she has already come this far, it would not be worth it to give up because of a small obstacle. Claire believes ice-skating should be more recognized and more common. Claire says,
“I definitely think people should do ice skating because it is a really fun sport and the skating community in Taiwan is really small. It is great for people to join and I hope more people get to know this amazing sport.”