Rodriguez Follows Her Dream of one Day Being an Olympic Skater

Filed under: Duncanville ISD,Schools |

originally posted in the Duncanville Panther Prints by 

Freshman Caroline Rodriguez steps onto the ice and takes in a deep breath of the chilled air. The world around her fades away and she is at peace inside again. After a stressful day at school, she is grateful to have this place where she is able to forget about her problems – except for the troubling triple axel she said she’s been trying to master.

“I love the feeling I get when I step onto the ice,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is a competitive figure skater.  She said the sport has played a contributing role in her life as of now and will be a determining factor of her future.

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(Kennedy Stidham photo)

“The sport has definitely turned me into who I am today,” Rodriguez said.

She said she began skating when she was six years old after her dad signed her up at the Dr. Pepper skating rink. Looking back on her first few lessons, she said most of the beginning days are a blur to her.

“The main thing I can clearly recall is the anxiety and fear I felt before I stepped onto the ice for the first time,” Rodriguez said. “I also remember taking interest in the sport immediately. I liked it a lot, even from the first day.”

As Rodriguez continued to skate over the years she said her love and passion for the sport has grown as well. At age 14, she said her life revolves around the sport. She wakes up at 4:30 every morning to travel to Farmers Branch for practices. She then goes to school where she is released early to leave for practice in Euless.

“Caroline spends 12 to 16 hours a week on and off the ice practicing,” Caroline mother’s Dolores Rodriguez said. “The sport is very time consuming,”

Caroline said this training schedule leaves little time for anything else even saying she does her homework on the road at times. She said she even declines invitations from her friends and family because she knows she could be using the time to better herself on the ice.

“You have no idea how many times I’ve had to say, ‘I can’t, I have skating,’” Caroline said. “But anyone would do it, if they loved the sport.”

Caroline said she would never be where she is today without the sacrifices she makes every day. She also believes that her success is majorly due to the support of one woman – her mother.

“My dad has given up on me,” Caroline said. “He says I’ll never make it to the Olympics, so ‘what’s the point’? But my mom has supported me through everything.”

She said her mother has been the one to transport her to practices and competitions.

“I have always been able to count on my mother to be there in the stands cheering me on,” Caroline said.

Mrs. Rodriguez said she is proud of what her daughter has accomplished over the years and how she has dedicated her time to getting better at the sport.

“I want everyone to know that she is my daughter when she is on the ice,” Mrs. Rodriguez said. “She makes me proud to be her mother.”

Caroline has attended several major competitions over the years including regionals, sectionals and even a national competition. She knows that she has accomplished a lot and has a lot to be proud of. But her proudest moment was when she made it to sectionals recently.  She competed against eight other regions in the country and placed fourth.

“It was really beautiful,” Caroline said. “I had not had any success in a long time, and I didn’t think I would make it.”

Caroline said her short-term goals include learning the triple spin and making back to nationals next year.

“My failure this year has only inspired me to work harder so I can make it to nationals next year and do better,” Caroline said. “My biggest dream is to someday be compared to great skaters like Sasha Cohen.

Caroline said one day she would like to be at the top of the sport with all of those she admires in the sport.

“I would someday love to represent the U.S. team in the Winter games,” Caroline said. “The Olympics will definitely always be a dream of mine.”

To accomplish her goals, she said she will continue on the path she’s on now and follow her own advice.

“You have to be fearless and persistent. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else does. And go for your dreams,” Caroline said.