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Athlete of the Month: Junior Celine Shaw, Figure Skater

Written by Janet Shea

The Oracle: What is your favorite thing about ice skating?
Celine Shaw: When skating, I feel more confident and my insecurities rescind. It’s a form of self-expression. In addition, the boots give you a one-inch height boost.

TO: What do you do in ice dancing competitions?
CS: You get a choreographer and they choreograph your routine. To compete, you need to pass [certain] exams and place high enough to advance to the higher competitions. There are different sections [in the competitions]: the lower sections, the middle sections and higher sections. You also have to know all these ice skating patterns, and it is really tedious in terms of preparation.

TO: What are life lessons you have learned through skating?
CS: The lifestyle of figure skating is falling down and getting back up. That was a routine I did at least 40 times a day. I also learned to start taking risks and that failure isn’t something to be ashamed of. When I first started, I got really embarrassed and started crying because whenever I fell down, the [older] kids on the other side would laugh at me. I felt dumb just doing it over and over. But I got used to the laughing and when I got better, they eventually stopped laughing. I learned that there’s no such thing as hard work that doesn’t go to use. All the hard work you do, even if you don’t finish your goal, is going to contribute to something. Falling down and getting back up is important, [and so is] taking risks.

TO: What have been your favorite moments as a skater?
CS: One of my most memorable moments is the first time I did a Triple Axel. It’s the type of move that’s marveled at in the Olympics, so I was really proud of that. My Bielman was another trick that I am really proud of. It was really difficult for me to learn this one because it put a really heavy strain on my back. I can’t breathe while holding the position, so the amount of pain I had to go through while mastering this was excruciating.

TO: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
CS: My biggest accomplishment was in Taiwan when I traveled there to compete in the Taiwanese International Skating Union Four Continents Competition. My partner and I placed third while he had a swollen ankle. I’m really proud of the both of us because we had worked so hard for this and we didn’t let his injury hold us back.

TO: How do you balance skating with your school life?
CS: Last year, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. on Sundays to go ice skating. It was really tough because school is my number one priority. It took a lot of sacrifices and I lost a lot of sleep; it was stressful. In the end, the benefits outweighed the negatives because figure skating is an outlet for me. It’s how I live in the moment.

TO: What are some challenges you have faced while skating?
CS: I won first in regionals, [but] I started slacking off. When I didn’t place at states, [my parents] cut off my skating. No matter how much I begged, they didn’t pay. I had missed skating, and I didn’t realize that I had taken advantage of the opportunity my parents so generously gave me. I [began working] really hard; I used to buy huge packs of pens from Daiso and sell them individually [at a higher price] to pay for the rink fee.

TO: What are your future plans and goals in ice skating?
CS: I do plan to continue figure skating. It’s an outlet for me, and it makes me feel confident and washes away insecurities. I [also] want to host a skating charity fundraiser showcase to raise money for underprivileged children who are in need of general education. I will be coaching kids to be part of this showcase this summer and will gather some of my friends that I’ve been training with to be a part of this.

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