We asked the new U.S. Olympic figure skating team to tell us about the first time they were introduced to their sport, and what they felt like when they were introduced to the idea of the Olympics.Adam Rippon
My earliest memory of the Olympics was watching the 1996 Games in Atlanta. I remember everyone being so excited to watch. Seeing the American athletes on the podium, I saw myself. I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be one of those athletes on the podium representing their country and bringing home medals.
I remember my mom let me stay up late and watch Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan compete at the 1998 Olympic Games. I made paper medals and wore them the whole night. I didn’t start skating until 2000 but I was so inspired by their skating that it was why I wanted to start. I always loved music, to dance, and to be really active. When I started skating, it was the first time all of these things came together. It felt like magic and I always wanted to be at the rink.Madison Hubbell
I watched Kristi Yamaguchi when I was a little girl, and I begged my mom to skate! I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. I had the illusion that if I skated, and wore my hair in a bun, that I would look like her. I had tried several things, including soccer and ballet as a child and I always complained. Skating was the only sport that I was always excited about practicing.Maia Shibutani
One of my earliest skating memories took place when I was 4 years old. I remember being in a group lesson and waiting for the other kids to make it across the ice. I was having so much fun that I told the coach that I didn’t want to wait anymore. I just wanted to keep skating.Alex Shibutani
One of my earliest skating memories is watching competitions on television with my family during the weekend. As we had just started skating, it was always inspiring to watch the skaters we looked up to perform and compete. It gave us a glimpse into a life we could have if we worked hard.Nathan Chen
I remember watching figure skating on TV during the 2002 Olympics, and I remember going to the rink and pretending to be in the Olympics.Mirai Nagasu
Olympics: Definitely watched Michelle Kwan be amazing in Nagano. She was – and is – my role model.Karen Chen:
Olympics: My favorite memory is watching Yuna Kim win her Olympic title at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.Madison Chock
Watching Michelle Kwan in the Olympics, she really was my biggest inspiration. I even had her video game!Evan Bates
Olympics: Watching Michael Johnson run at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I never imagined myself being on that stage. At least not until I reached a very high level in skating and realized it was possible for me, probably 12 years later.Alexa Scimeca Knierim
My memories of skating began with the park district program. I didn’t know ice skating in the competitive way at first. At the beginning I fell in love with the freedom. When I progressed I learned that ice skating was a competitive sport and also a performing art.
I remember sitting on my living room floor watching Sasha Cohen compete. I was so nervous for her. I always dreamed about going to the Olympics and bring like Sasha. I also remember watching Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy compete at the same Olympics but I wasn’t interested in pairs skating at the time. I envisioned myself on the ice alone for many years. My dream didn’t change until I was 20 and started pairs skating. I continued to see myself at the Olympics, only this time with a man next to me.Chris Knierim
Earliest memory of the Olympics was probably watching the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. I imagined what it would be like to be in that position; I think most kids in any Olympic sport think about that when they watch the Olympics.Vincent Zhou
My earliest memory of skating was when I was 3. On a Sunday, my parents took my sister and me to the local rink in Cupertino, California, and we rented public session skates and I got on the ice. I remember standing there, afraid to move, and my dad taking my hand and taking me around the rink. I started taking private lessons at age 5 ½, and the dedication and time skating took really made it a huge part of my life that remained so throughout the years.
My earliest Olympic memory was hearing Yevgeny Plushenko’s name in 2006. Of course, I had only just started private lessons then, so I didn’t understand much about it.