The opening ceremonies of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games are Friday in Sochi, Russia. You can see it on WOWT starting at 6:30 p.m. Local athletes are gearing up to watch their role models in action.
Young figure skaters take to the ice Friday morning at Omaha’s Motto McLean Ice Arena, part of their regular weekday routine. Some spend three or four hours on the ice every day. Those hours have given them and their parents a greater appreciation of what our Olympians have endured to make it to Sochi.
“If you're gonna do something, you've gotta do it good instead of doing it just to do it,” said Kayla Romero, who got to be a sweeper when Nationals were held here last year. She learned a lot watching the Olympians perform, but she took away even more off the ice.
“She's met a lot of them last year at Regionals and they were beautiful people,” said mother Janie Romero. “They weren't just beautiful skaters, they were just beautiful people, which is really encouraging as a mom that that's what they're looking up to, which is really cool."
The discipline it takes to arrive at the rink early in the morning before heading off to school is incredible. That's not all these young figure skaters have learned from the sport. They say skating has opened their eyes to everything from paying attention to the smallest details to knowing good nutrition and fashion.
“Skating got me into music and so music is part of my life now and before it wasn't,” said Amanda Voelker.
"I started eating healthy because of skating because I wanted to do things better than I used to ‘cause when I was little I couldn't do that much fun things, so I started eating healthy so I could do more fun things and I got so much farther," said Kayla, who's been skating since the age of 6.
As soon as these hopefuls are away from the ice, expect them to be glued to the tube, soaking up every possible lesson as the best in the business compete on the world stage.
“I like listening to the music they have and then in the pairs event I like to see the tricks that they do and they do lifts and they help, they do everything together,” said Amanda.
“I’m most excited for the skaters to do really good and get good places,” said Michaela Voelker.
These girls are working to make it to the Olympics one day and they know it’ll take talent, hard work, strength, speed, effort, practice and hope. "Just watching them, it just brings tears to your eyes ‘cause you know what it takes to get your kid to the ice every day and what it takes and all the practice it takes for them,” said Janie.