They make it look so easy.
The jumps, the spins, the lifts.
But, from the skill to the sacrifice, there's nothing easy about being a Team USA figure skater.
"Our goal is to be national champions and to be part of the 2018 Olympic team," said 26-year-old Timothy LeDuc.
LeDuc and his skating partner, Ashley Cain, are two of eight team USA skaters who train in North Texas at the Dr Pepper Star Centers. They'll tell you that sacrifice to become an Olympic skater adds up.
"The coaching, the ice time, the costumes, the music, the travel for competitions," LeDuc said. "It can be upwards of $40,000 a year."
For many years now, they say the Dr Pepper Star Center in Euless had graciously covered their ice time, amounting to $600 a month per person.
But Dan Morris, who runs the center in Euless, says over the years, the number of skaters they covered jumped to 22. This year they realized they could no longer afford it.
"It grew so quickly and so big that we just couldn’t sustain it as a business, so we’re looking for alternative ways to help these skaters," Morris said.
Darlene Cain, who's a coach and Ashley's mom, said they're grateful the Star Center was able to help with as much, and for as long, as they did. Now, they're working with the organization to find sponsors.
"We’re kind of hoping maybe if someone else is interested and wanted to step up and help these kids, it'd be amazing," Cain said.
"Without the ice time being covered, it would take away from other parts of our training," LeDuc says, explaining that the $600-a-month may mean skaters having to go without other parts of their training. These are skaters who could likely be on the 2018 Olympic team. "It would prevent us from really reaching top level."
Winning a gold medal would be priceless; they just hope the cost doesn't get in the way of their dreams.
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