Olympic Aspirations

Zander Kelly
By Zander Kelly February 16, 2018 11:47

Jake Ellis, 12, practices at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex on Wednesday, February 7. photo by Zander Kelly

by Zander Kelly

The Olympics are on in Pyeongchang, but back home Jake Ellis is making strides to one day compete.

The 12-year-old Essex youth started out playing hockey six years ago but soon after approached his mother about becoming a figure skater instead.

“I skate four to five days a week. About six hours a week total,” said Ellis. “I definitely want to make it to the Olympics. A medal would be great.”

Ellis has found criticism from his peers but isn’t deterred.

“They try to say “why do you like skating so much?” and it’s just because I love it— I love the sport,” said Ellis.

Ellis recently competed at the 2017 Skate Canada Challenge in Montreal and won third place in his age division, 10-16, against 47 other students.

“I got second in the short competition, third in the long competition and third overall,” said Ellis.

One of Ellis’s coaches is Lori Lafferty-Vilneff, who has been coaching with the South Windsor Skating Club for seven years.

“I love the kids and I love the sport,” said Lafferty-Vilneff.

Lafferty-Vilneff encourages Ellis’s dream and praises his skill

“(Ellis) has a unique quality in that he is very coordinated from the sports perspective, but he is also very musical and artsy from the artistic side of our sport,” said Lafferty-Vilneff.

Lafferty-Vilneff also had words of support for all prospective skaters.

“Our philosophy is to always stay positive, just like the Olympic Spirit.”

Ellis hopes to keep training and competing in hopes of one day reaching that Olympic stage.

Zander Kelly
By Zander Kelly February 16, 2018 11:47

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