HOUSTON – At Sugarland Ice and Sports Center, the Olympics are inspiring a lot of young skaters to hit the ice and train harder.
A group of 14-year-old girls who are homed-schooled and have Olympic dreams take to the ice early in the morning and skate for several hours a day. Off the ice, they take ballet and go to stretch training.
“I get up at 4 in the morning. My mom opens the rink and I'm at the rink at 5:30 a.m. and I skate until I leave,” said Jordan Virata, a figure skating student.
Watching their favorite figure skaters in the Olympics fuels these young teenagers' dreams of gaining a coveted spot on the American Olympic figure skating team someday.
“I love watching Mirai Nagasu because she didn't make it the first time,” said Payton Ross, another figure skating student. “She worked extra hard and made it the second time and she did a perfect performance.”
“To me, they are showing me I can be like them,” said Virata. “So I come out every day and I train to be like them.”
Ice skating for three to four hours a day, sometimes six days a week, the girls all have goals in their training, such as harder jumps.
“The next big thing are all of my triples,” Virata said.
And if watching the Olympics isn't enough, all they have to do is look over their shoulder to their coaches for inspiration.
They are coached by Kitty and Peter Carruthers, the famous brother-sister team who won the silver medal in 1984 for figure skating pairs.
“It was the thrill of a lifetime,” Kitty Carruthers said.
“To be able to go to Sarajevo in ‘84 and then get the medal,” Peter Carruthers said. “What a bonus! A lot of hard work coming together at the right time.“