While competitors from around the world are in Sochi, Russia competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics, a figure skating duo from the Houston area is setting their sights on the 2018 Winter Games.
While the 2018 competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea begins in just under 1,500 days, 15-year-old Brianna De Le Mora and her skating partner, 22-year-old Taylor Wilson are making the biggest leap of their skating careers.
“It's cool seeing where we are now, compared to other teams we've been watching since we first started going to the pairs competition around the US,” said Taylor. “To look up to them, and now getting there with them.”
Brianna and Taylor are fresh off their fifth place finish at last month’s U.S. national championship in Boston.
“I think it made us feel like we had a chance in the future up there at the top with the other pair skaters in the country," said Brianna.
The duo’s coach is former Russian professional Val Prudsky, who is monitoring their every step as they advance to the senior level.
"It's like a big ladder you have to climb up,” said Prudsky. “You have to work and work and get on top of it. We have the next four years, and we’re hoping we'll get to Olympics in Korea.”
When pursuing their dreams, time management is critical.
Taylor attends the University of Houston while Brianna is a ninth grader at Sugar Land's Logos Preparatory Academy.
While at school, both are focused on academics and the homework, but on the ice, they work to perfect every routine.
When they are on the ice, every day and every workout counts as they pursue their goal to earn a spot on Team USA in 2018.
“It's definitely cool competing against those that went to the Olympics or have gone in the past,” said Brianna. “You realize just how close you are getting.”
"Now we have work to do,” said Taylor. “Our time is coming up next, so we have to get here every day and work hard.”
Both Brianna and Taylor are focused on what lies ahead. As Coach Prudsky put it, being successful while competing at the senior level is challenging, but it’s something his skaters are both ready to face head-on.