Olympic athlete speaks with Student-Athlete Leadership Group

Olympic athlete speaks with Student-Athlete Leadership Group

Olypmic athlete Kimmie Meissner poses with the Student-Athlete Leadership Group. Meissner spoke to the group on May 2 about her experiences ice skating in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Miranda Ripken, Sports Editor

On the morning of May 2, the Student-Athlete Leadership Group had a visitor who was a contender at the highest level in her sport.

22-year-old Kimmie Meissner, who competed in the Olympics and won the World Championship at age 16, took the time to talk to the Leadership Group about her life, her goals, and what every athlete should do to reach their dreams.

Meissner started skating when she was six years old and it was mainly because of her brothers. Her brothers played ice hockey and, although she didn’t quite enjoy going to their games, watching them sparked her interest in the ice. Meissner also played soccer, lacrosse, and dance, but eventually chose skating as her forte.

“Skating is like therapy for me. The ice can release so much tension,” Meissner said.

Continuing her passion throughout high school, Meissner was forced to leave school early to keep up with her schedule of skating three to four hours a day and working out for two hours after. Meissner was able to keep her grades up nonetheless because the drive to the ice rink in Delaware allowed her to have the time to do homework.

Meissner said that she often had to make sacrifices for skating, such as hanging out with friends or going to dances.   “I feel like I definitely [missed] out on some things, but what I [gained was] worth it,” Meissner said.

Meissner said her favorite moment was during one of her short programs. She was in fourth place and a reporter told her to just go home because it was pointless for her to stay.

“The next day, I went out there and won the whole thing. His comment spurred me on,” Meissner said. Positive reinforcement allowed her to shake off her previous skate and continue on to succeed, according to Meissner.

“You have to set a goal to achieve the goal, and have the confidence to get there…In sports and a lot of things, your attitude and mental toughness can get you through it,” Meisser said.

Senior Emily Soller who was at the Student-Athlete Leadership Group meeting that morning, was surprised at how much actually went into figure skating.

“It was shocking when Kimmie told us about when [the judges] told her to dye her hair a different color, or when she got points taken off because [something was wrong with] her skating dress. It’s definitely very different from any other sport and takes a lot of confidence to do well,” Soller said.

Now that her skating competition career has ended, Meissner continues to skate professionally in shows. She also works at Agape, the physical therapy center at The Arena Club in Bel Air. Meissner also has endorsements with Visa, Subway, and Under Armour.

“[Under Armour] sent me a box of clothes…that was my dream,” Meissner said.

As far as Meissner’s career in competitive figure skating, Meissner attributes her success to the work that she put into it.

“[Getting to the Olympics] wasn’t unexpected for me. I was training and doing everything possible to make it there,” Meissner said.

“It was a great experience getting to know more about [Meissner]. I learned that figure skating isn’t as easy as it looks,” Soller said.

Miranda Ripken is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com