Figure skaters' preparation pays off in Wisconsin Rapids - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Figure skaters' preparation pays off in Wisconsin Rapids

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) - The Olympic Winter Games may be over but the Olympic spirit is still making an impact in central Wisconsin.

More than 75 area figure skaters performed Sunday at the Skate with Taste show in Wisconsin Rapids.

Many of the young skaters there said they chose to perform after being inspired by Olympic athletes at this year's Games.

From three-year-olds new to the ice to teenage figure skaters, the show featured performers of all levels.

"You will see axels today. You will see loops. Our club is very heavy in dance," said Wendy Eron, the show's director.

Figure skaters from across central Wisconsin showed off years of work and training. In that way, many of these girls are similar to their favorite Olympians.

"I was watching the Olympics and I saw how cool Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner were, and I decided I wanted to try it and see if I liked it," said Megan Dudgeon, a 12-year-old figure skater from Wisconsin Rapids.

Show organizers say it's not uncommon for the Games to inspire children to try a new sport.

"Figure skating will see an increase in all their Learn to Skate programs in an Olympic year," Eron said.

It's not just beginners catching Olympic fever.

"My oldest daughter also participated in the Badger State Games for figure skating this year so it definitely adds to the interest and enthusiasm for the Olympics," said Amy Gust of Wisconsin Rapids.

With the spotlight now off of Sochi, it's central Wisconsin's time to shine.

"This is it. This is what i've come and learned here for," said Jocelyn Roach, an 11-year-old from Wisconsin Rapids with five years of figure skating experience.

Getting out on that stage isn't always easy, some girls say. It takes mental preparation.

Dudgeon tells herself, "Do the best you can and don't worry about what other people think. Just worry about how you skate."

Parents feel the nerves too.

"I'm just excited. For me, when I see the real young skaters I get a little choked up because I remember when my daughters were that little," Gust said.

For all in the audience and on the ice, this show brings the Olympics a little closer to home.

Organizers say the skaters will already begin preparing for next year's show in April.
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