We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from espnW here on FitSugar! This week, figure skater Ashley Wagner blogs about her journey to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
By Ashley Wagner
To come as close as you possibly can to your dreams without achieving them is heartbreaking.
That's what happened to me in 2010. You may or may not have noticed me back then, but I was the first alternate to the U.S. Olympic figure skating team. Going to the Olympics has always been my dream, ever since I watched Tara Lipinski win the 1998 Games.
When I just missed the team, it kind of made me re-evaluate whether I even wanted to keep skating at all, but I ultimately realized I wasn't done with the sport. I want to work as hard as I can so the next time I won't leave anything behind, and have no regrets.
I started skating when I was 5 years old. I was living in Alaska at the time — one of many places we called home because my dad was in the Army — and my little brother and I were cooped up in the house, challenging my mom as most kids do. She decided to take some action, so she signed us up for a Mommy and Me ice skating class. I loved it, but she hated it. My mom never got back on the rink again, but I never wanted to stop!
I just loved the feeling of skating. Even as we moved around a lot with my dad's job, my parents made sure there was a rink nearby wherever we were stationed. I was always in a new place with new people, but the ice was the one place I was comfortable and didn't have to readjust. I felt at home, and skating was like an old friend that had always been there for me.
I'm confident I have some talent, but I think the one thing that got me to the point where I am now is I'm a ridiculously hard worker. Everything I've accomplished as a skater is the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears — the old-fashioned way. I'm on the ice 20 to 25 hours a week depending on the season, and I spend an hour or two off-ice each day doing yoga, core weight training, swimming, running and circuit training.
I've made plenty of sacrifices along the way. In high school when my friends were going to a movie on Friday nights, I didn't go because I had practice early on Saturday. I completed my senior year of high school online because I had moved from Washington, D.C., to Delaware to train with a different coach. I'm 21, but not a normal college kid because I chose to move to California to train full time. Still, I get to do what I love more than anything else in the world, so I'm lucky.