I love watching the Olympics — but I just adore the Winter Olympics (and it was certainly an appropriately wintery week for it here in London). Something about the romance of all that snow and ice (ice, baby) just really gets to me. I love the bobsleigh and the biathlon, but specifically, I love the figure skating. The strength, the grace, the music, the sparkly costumes — what a show!
As a young child, my sports were gymnastics and ballet, so I was always flexible and enjoyed movement. I can’t remember when I first stepped onto the ice — it might have been an ice skating birthday party around the age of six? — but I loved it, and soon I was on the ice four or five times a week after school.
I’ve always been quite a clumsy person (I have spilled a fair amount of Champagne down my chest!) but I never struggled to find my balance on skates. I was never that good at the spins, but I had decent form on my jumps — I could land a double toe-loop! — and I absolutely loved the rush of ice skating. The adrenaline of speeding about, the wind whipping your face — it feels like flying. I’m still a sucker for an adrenaline rush (I love fast cars and jet skis, too).
Another thing I loved, and still love, about figure skating was the spectacle of it. Choosing my first skating dress was a dream — so much diamanté and lace! I had my own custom-made skates specially imported, and I loved nothing more than swinging that bag onto my arm and hopping in the car.
But as I got older, I realised that I was never going to ‘make it’ as a professional skater. I was always more academic than sporty, and I had competing priorities, including university application deadlines, and, of course, friends I wanted to see more of. I skated a bit as a hobby through university, but slowly I gave it up.
I no longer have the need for fancy blades and custom boots, or for sparkly diamanté leotards! But I’ve always maintained an interest in the sport, and that’s why every year, I set aside time to watch the Winter Olympics.
Which winter sport is your favourite? I also love skiing — and tobogganing!