GIRL ON FIRE: USFSP’s Olympic Skater Felicia Zhang
What was your greatest accomplishment during your freshman year? Maybe you boasted about holding a 4.0 or studying abroad. Felicia Zhang on the other hand will forever remember her freshman year as the year she skated in the Olympics. At only 20 years of age, Zhang is a freshman studying Psychology at USFSP. Along with partner Nathan Bartholomay, 24, she will be skating to represent the U.S. at the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia which is scheduled between Feb 7th – 23rd. This girl is too hot to touch right now!
Zhang tweeted earlier today, “Heading on the plane to our first stop for the Olympics, Germany! See you later USA.” a month earlier the pair could not be certain they were heading off to the Olympics. After winning the silver medal at the U.S. National Figure Skating competition on January 11th, the pair knew their future at the Olympics would be a toss-up. Their fate was in the hands of the U.S. Figure Skating who later announced that the couple would in fact represent the U. S. alongside U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir.
After the announcement, Zhang was lauded and labeled an instant celebrity. Zhang had humble beginnings though. She began skating at the age of seven after attending a friends ice skating themed birthday party. Who knew the secret to success lied in a simple invitation. At age 16 Zhang said, “My dad liked to speed skate so he took me to public skating,” she recalled. “I did gymnastics for about half a year when I was five and took ballet, but I didn’t try any other sports.” After practicing in the public skating rink, formal lessons were sure to follow and today her and Bartholomay practice at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex in Ellenton, FL just 30 minutes away from the USFSP campus.
In January, Zhang and Bartholomay practiced their Olympic routine free for the public with sessions on Friday January, 24th and 31st. The practice session was not scheduled to begin until 1:00 PM EST but viewers arrived as early as 8:15 AM EST. While the local newspaper stated that door would open at 12:45 PM EST, the sports complex was already filled by noon and many visitors were turned away. One mom who wished to remain anonymous said, “I took my daughter out of school for this. Had I known they would open before 12:45 PM EST we would have come earlier.” Needless to say, the Zhang’s name along with Bartholomay, are quickly becoming a household name!
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