Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Zukowski begins new life chapter

With a tall coffee cup in her hand and a stack of textbooks tucked under her arm, Christine Zukowski looks like any other Temple student as she meanders down Liacouras Walk. Her 5-foot-1-inch frame makes for a short gait, but there is a certain gracefulness to her walk and a confidence in her smile.

She seems older than the rest of her freshman class, mature beyond her years and for good reason.
A quick search of her name on YouTube is all the explanation one needs – and that is exactly how Zukowski’s college friends discovered their fellow classmate was also an elite figure skater.

“My friends look me up on YouTube and they’re like, ‘Why didn’t you tell us you were that good?’” Zukowski laughed, seemingly bashful about her level of fame.

Zukowski started skating at the age of 5, and by 7 years old she was already entering competitions. Her family, which includes her parents and two siblings, decided to move from Warminster, Pa., to Newark, Del., when she was 8, so that she could train at the University of Delaware.

At 14, an age when most teenagers are focused on grades, video games and the opposite sex, Zukowski was landing triples and winning the U.S. Ladies Novice Championship. Her high school experience was tailored to fit her training schedule, as she was homeschooled her first two years before enrolling in a school with a large population of elite figure skaters. The school’s schedule permitted students time for training.

“They actually let us out at 12 p.m. so that we could train,” Zukowski said. “I skated four 40-minute sessions, and then I would work out and do ballet, and then I’d get home around 6 and start my homework.”

She ran through her former schedule nonchalantly, as if it was normal for a teenager to spend upwards of six hours in preparation for elite competitions.

Full article.

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