Ten-year-old Sophie is spinning for joy after being selected to join the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Development Squad.
Sophie, who’s in Lower III (Year 6) at The Abbey Junior School in Reading, only learned to ice skate two years ago, and her talent was spotted very quickly. Sophie said: “I decided to have an ice skating party for my eighth birthday and invite my friends. But I’d never ice skated before, so my mum suggested I have lessons.
“I joined a class of about nine other beginners at the ice rink and loved it.”
Soon after she started the classes, a couple of coaches approached Sophie and her mum and asked if they could coach her, so she chose one and began private lessons. Despite only starting the sport two years ago, Sophie has competed nationally in both ice dance and free skating and won a number of medals.
She has recently qualified to compete in the British Championships in July where she will be competing alongside girls up to the age of 13. She has also competed internationally. In February Sophie competed in the Flyver Cup 2018 in Copenhagen, where she came third. Sophie has been awarded a Sports Ambassador Scholarship at The Abbey for when she joins Upper III (Year 7) at the Senior School in September.
Sophie has experienced the usual falls an ice skater expects and only hit her head on the ice once, but it hasn’t put her off performing jumps and spins. She said: “I find jumps quite easy and can now do double jumps. I really want to go to the Winter Olympics one day. I find skating takes my mind off things and it’s fun. When I learn a new skill and I get it right, I think it’s great. There is a bit of pressure when I’m trying to qualify for a competition, but I still enjoy it.”
Sophie is dedicated to her sport and is on the ice-rink training at 5.30am three mornings a week, before heading to school. She also practises after school and on both a Saturday and Sunday, putting in at least 12 hours of training a week. She also supports this with additional off-ice fitness and choreography work.
Sophie loves to be on the ice, however when she isn’t found gliding round the rink or working hard at school, she also enjoys running, swimming and playing with her friends.