Dreams of Glory: Figure skating opportunities in the East

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — While figure skating might be one of the most popular Olympic sports, not everyone who dreams of figure skating professionally dream of the Olympics.

Eleven-year-old Danni Everett finds happiness on the ice.

“”I first saw it on the TV, and I was like ‘Hey Mom, that’s so cool, and she took me ice skating, and I just loved it,” Danni said.

Danni looks up to currents skaters for inspiration and hopes to be in the Olympics one day.

“Bradie Tennell and Nathan Chen are going to be in (the Olympics), and I am looking forward to it,” Danny said.

But Olympic dreams are not the only choice for figure skating in the East.

“Some skaters do go the competitive track and go through regional competitions and nationals and international levels, and then a lot of other skaters do shows,” said Maddy Minnick, president of the ECU Figure Skating club.

She’s been figure skating for 16 years.

“My mother signed me up for lessons,” said Minnick. “She saw an ad in the paper for a local learn-to-skate program. She signed me up, and the rest is history.”

Minnick’s dreams are different than Danni’s.

“People ask me all the time, ‘Are you going to the Olympics? But I’m always like ‘no,’” said Minnick.

She said she would love to make it on “Disney on Ice.”

“For a competitive route, your focus is obviously the jumps, the spins, the footwork, and for a show route it would be more of the showmanship, you know, the performance aspect of the skating,” Minnick said.

Minnick said there are a lot of similarities in the training.

“I work out every day,” said Minnick. “Just lifting and cardio and then as far as specifics of figure skating stretching is huge. And there is a lot of power drills that you can do that really work on the muscles in your leg.”

Her coach, Stephanie Bardikyn, hopes to help the skaters she teaches achieve their dreams.

“I skated for five years on ‘Disney on Ice’ with the ‘Beauty and the Beast Disney on Ice’ show,” said Bardikyn. “And I spent two years traveling around the United States, and I spent three years traveling internationally with the show.”

With each jump, spin and twirl, Minnick wants to show the world the other ways you can experience a career on ice.

“A lot of people forget that there are other outlets to figure skating, and a lot of people forget there is more to figure skating then just the jumps and the spins,” Minnick said.

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