Local skaters inspired by Olympic athletes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local skaters inspired by Olympic athletes

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One of the best parts of the Olympic Games is the inspiration and hope it brings to the next generation.

Figure skaters of all ages and levels from across Iowa gathered Sunday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to compete for a spot on the podium and a chance to qualify for the national State Games competition.

With smiles on their faces, hours of hard work behind them, the competitors skated their hearts out in front of a panel of judges; hoping their performance landed them on the podium. 

A medal might be the goal but their favorite part, "probably the friends that you make and meet," said 10-year-old Isaac Degroot.

Friends, the answer behind many of the skaters' starts in figure skating. Like Hope Andrews, 8, who played hockey with her brother before switching to join a friend in figure skating classes.

"Do you like Figure Skating more? What do you like about it?" asked KWWL.

"Yes! It is super-girly and I can skate around and learn new things," said Andrews.

New things like the next jump or spin. It is not lost on these local skaters that as they take the ice, so does our Team USA, competing against the best of the best to bring home some hardware.

"Wow, they are so good and they have been through the same stuff I have," said Ella Achey, who has been skating for 8 years. "They have gone through the same steps. It is insane."

For some, the inspiration goes beyond the elements. United Arab Emirates skater Zahra Lari was the first to wear a headscarf during international competition.

"She is on the international scene right now. I have watched a couple of here skates and I look up to her as well," said Maram El-Geneidy a University of Iowa student, who also skates with a hijab.

Many of the skaters who competed qualified for the national State Games which is held every two years. The next games are in Virginia in August of 2019. 

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