Where Do Junior and Senior Roller Skating Champions Come From?

Nov. 27, 2010, 2:25 p.m. (ET)
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Many new roller figure skating athletes and their families want to become champions and wonder where our current champions come from. They want to know more about these "lucky kids" like Nicole Leonard with "talent" and are curious about how to get their kids into this very fortunate group. If you take a moment to look at the bios for our Junior and Senior Figure World Team USA skaters or get to meet them in person, they seem to have a few things in common:

  • Love of skating and desire to achieve
  • Strong work ethic in school as well as at practices in the rink
  • Dedicated, well-informed coaches who set attainable goals
  • Dedicated, supportive families who encourage individual achievement
  • A regular training schedule that extends over many years - thanks to the first four items
  • Good sportsmanship, positive attitude and good manners
Not every World Team USA member is like Michael Cooper, a rink operator's son, who has skated since he was three and at age 15 skated figures at his 3rd World Championship this season. Michael may have been born into the sport, but he has still been required to work very hard to become a champion, and he has an impressive resume of National Placements to verify his work. No one could do it for him. He loves to skate, already gives service time back to skating and is a good sport in every sense of the word.

Some skaters start a little later like Collin Moore who comes from a skating family, but didn't begin competing until 2007 when he was 10 years old. Usually previous competitive sports or dance experience and hard work help propel skaters like him up the skating ladder.

And a rink or skating family is not required. Many others like Jackie Cross, Trevor Anthony, John Burchfield and Courtney Donovan do not have coaches or rink operators in their immediate household, but they do have families or supporters who have opened up a spot in their lives to accommodate their skating needs and skating time, just the same.

Anyway you look at it, there is no magic formula for building a champion. Just skaters who are "lucky enough to get the support they need" and with a "special talent to work hard for a goal" for many entire seasons (not just when a competition is near). When you look at it this way, all of our World Team USA skaters really are "lucky kids" with "talent" if they have earned a spot as Junior and Senior Team USA athletes.