Young El Paso figure skaters inspired by Olympic athletes
POSTED: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 9:35pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 7, 2014 - 7:52pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are officially underway. The Sun City Blades figure skating club will be watching the figure skating competition very closely.
The club is coached by Anna Tarassova, a former Russian figure skater. Anna started skating at only five years old and made it to the Junior Olympics as a teenager. She didn't win any medals and said her 5 foot 9 inch stature made it difficult to pursue a professional career so she started coaching.
She has been training kids in El Paso for more than 10 years now and hopes some of her athletes will make it to the games one day.
In the meantime, she says she'll be watching all of this year's athletes compete in her home country.
"We're skating in the Olympics right now for different countries. For Italy, for Canada, for the U.S., but most of them trained in the Olympic Center and I saw them and I talked to them and I know them personally," Anna said.
Anna's 11-year-old son, Daniel Tiounentsev, will begin training in Colorado soon. The Olympic Training Center is located in Colorado Springs.
Daniel said he dreams of being an Olympic athlete.
"It's a lot of people in the whole world and everyone is watching, and I'm not used to that right now but if I get older I can get used to it," said Daniel.
Daniel said he trains every day for two hours a day.
Bow Bagley, 14, trains with Anna and Daniel. She's been figure skating since she was eight years old.
"My favorite thing about skating is the jumping and how it makes me feel. When you land a jump it's really good, and if you do it right, and your coach says, 'Good job,' it's a different feeling," said Bow.
She said she loves the sport, but imagines that the pressure to be an Olympic athlete would be overwhelming.
Bow and Daniel said watching the Olympic figure skaters inspires them to work even harder.
The Sun City Blades has a figure skating school at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center (behind the Coliseum). Classes are held every Saturday from 11 a.m. - 12 noon. All ages are welcome. The first lesson costs $5, then $18 per lesson, or $60 for four lessons.