Olympic hope among figure skaters preparing for U.S. Championships

Skaters train for the US figure skating championships on the Ogden Ice Cap on Friday. (Greg Anderson, KSL-TV)

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OGDEN – Figure skaters from Ogden kicked off New Years Eve training for the U.S. figure skating championships on Friday in the first week of 2022. And at least one of them is aiming for the February Olympics.

Before any competition, the stakes can seem high and the pressure overwhelming. But the countless hours of practice on the ice beforehand means it all.

2022 is a particularly important year for Mitchell Friess. Based on this week’s results at the U.S. championships, the University of Utah graduate could represent the U.S. team at the February Olympics.

He said “it’s a little intimidating” but knows he put in “a lot of hard work. And a lot of time.”

“You have to be able to turn, you have to be able to skate. You have to be able to do everything,” said Friess.

“Once you work on it long enough, it comes naturally,” said Abigail Ross, 17. “But a lot of hard work goes into it.”

Ross is a high school student who has been competitive skating since the age of 2 and says she could ‘skate better than I could walk’.

The Olympics are not in his immediate plans. After competing in the United States Championships, she plans to focus on preparing for college. And skating his whole life has taught him that mistakes come with territory.

“Falling is part of skating and you can’t accomplish anything if you don’t fall,” she said.

15-year-old Kai Kovar 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 the motivation and the passion to be in this sport”.

“I think the hard part is more the emotional part. Being able to stay in control. Being able to handle the pressure.”

Coach Amanda Kovar knows patience is key for these three athletes. Over the years, she has seen the sport evolve rapidly and the level of competitiveness soar.

“We are working hard today to be great tomorrow,” she said. “You just have to think about going after every competition and doing your best skate.”

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