Olympic hopefuls on ice in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

Olympic hopefuls on ice in Breckenridge

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Ranging from 7 year olds to Olympic hopefuls, 16 skaters will compete in an exhibition today at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge at 3 p.m.

The skaters are among 25 athletes training this week at The Steve with coach Eddie Shipstad.

And to culminate their week in Breck, the skaters are giving local sports fans a look at their progress.

“This isn’t a show program, this is a competition program,” Shipstad said. “Every kid out there will be going for their highest jumps. … It’ll definitely be very entertaining and very athletic.”

Shipstad said that five or six skaters will be attempting triple jumps during the hour-and-a-half program.

Shipstad – who works as a coach through the World Arena in Colorado Springs – brought this group of skaters up for a training week, along with fellow national and international coaches Damon Allen and Janet Champion.

“We wanted something fresh,” Shipstad said. “We’ve had a hard summer of training, and it’s nice to go somewhere fun.”

Though this is the group’s first time training in Summit County, they have, in past years, spent time in Vail and Steamboat Springs.

With the crew this summer are two Olympic hopefuls.

Chaochih Liu, though only 16 years old, is hoping to qualify for the Chinese Taipai national team through a September competition in Germany. Liu’s parents are both natives of the former nation of Taiwan, allowing her to try for the Chinese Taipai team even though she was born and raised in America.

Liu and her family currently live in Colorado Springs, where she trains with Shipstad.

“She’s had a great year of competitions,” her coach said, noting that she’s competed in both the Junior Worlds and World Championships. “Now it comes down to one competition.”

Shipstad added that he thinks she has a great chance of qualifying.

The other skater competing today with dreams of Vancouver is Jono Partridge, 20, who hopes to gain a spot on the England national team.

Shipstad thinks those in attendance at today’s competition will be surprised by the skill level and effort of his skaters.

“You can’t fake stamina up here,” he said.

The program is free and open to the public.

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