LAFAYETTE, LA - From jumps to turns, figure skating may look easy on TV but now, some Lafayette area locals are training just like Olympic figure skater champions.
"Every ounce of effort that you put in to figure skating is completely worth it," said figure skater student Divada Mallet.
Skaters from all over Louisiana including Pierre Part and Baton Rouge come out to Planet Ice Rink in Lafayette to take courses that have the same training as the Olympics.
"Each student has to go through a specific type of qualifying to get to the Olympics," said Planet Ice Rink figure skating coach Amanda Romero. "The first level that you can qualify is juvenile and then you move on from there to intermediate, junior and senior."
Romero says senior level is the highest level of skating and most Olympic skaters start off in regional competitions and ultimately compete nationally.
"How they finish in nationals normally has a lot to do with if they qualify for the Olympics or not," said Romero, who's taken her students to competitions in Texas and Colorado.
Romero's students say no matter where they end up, they'll always skate like winners.
"It's a huge inspiration just to keep working and to keep striving for everything that I've dreamed about doing for so long," said Mallet. "It helps me to aspire to continue moving up in the levels and to be able to do the same things that all these Olympic skaters do even if I don't actually go to the Olympics. It's like a dream come true that I've wanted since I was little. Since I started skating, this is all I've ever wanted to do, it's been my only dream."
Romero says her favorite part of coaching is being able to watch her students grow.
"I have a student that started when she was four. She's still with me today and she's 16," said Romero. "So to get them to go through all the different levels and all the competitions, it's fun to stay with them and see them grow not only as a skater but as a person."
Planet Ice Rink's programs introduce participants to the basics of ice skating and all coaches are qualified to teach to skating and figure skating and are members of United States Figure Skating (USFS), Figure Skating Club of New Orleans (FSCNO), and the Professional Skaters Association (PSA).
For more information on skating class schedules at Planet Ice Rink, CLICK HERE.