Hawaii Ice Skater Going to Nationals
You may think only surfers and baseball champs come out of sunny Hawaii, but a young ice skater from the islands is competing in a national figure skating event in New York.
Crystal Nguyen started her skating career when she was just six years old, right here, at Hawaii's only public ice skating rink, the Ice Palace.
Now this 13 year old Kalihi girl is the Central Pacific Regional Champion.
"My favorite jump is the double flip and one of my hardest jumps, is my double axle," Nguyen said. "It's my greatest weapon. Because, most skaters, they can't land it yet. I have already, so it's pretty good."
Crystal leaves this weekend to compete next week at the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in Lake Placid, New York.
"Did you ever think you'd make it this far?" KGMB9 asked. "Not really, actually. I was so excited when I went to the mainland, oh my gosh, I can't believe I made it," Nguyen said.
"She's a great ambassador for the sport and the state of Hawaii," Nguyen's coach Jennifer Jones said.
Crystal's Hawaii coach saw her potential years ago."She's just been a little phenom coming up through the ranks. She got an exceptional work ethic and I think that's really paid off in the end now," Jones said.
And like Jamaican bobsledders, Crystal's island skating roots surprise her mainland competitors.
"Hawaii has really not a lot of skaters that compete. So, they're like 'You're from Hawaii? Isn't it only surfing, not ice skating,'" Nguyen said.
For the past 26 years, the Ice Palace has been instructing young skaters, but, Crystal is the pride of Ice Palace right now, and the first skater from Hawaii to win a US regional competition.
Two months ago, Crystal won the Ladies Intermediate Division during the Central Pacific Regional Championships in San Jose, Calif.
She's now ranked third in the nation.
"So, If she can skate clean she actually has a chance at bringing home a medal," Jones said.
Crystal is the only singles skater from Hawaii to ever go to nationals.
"It's an amazing thing to represent Hawaii in a traditionally winter sport, and to be successful at it, is just such and accomplishment for her and the skating club. So, we just hope to continue that success and wish her all the best of luck at nationals this year," Jones said.
Written by Ramsay Wharton
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