LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Just like Gucci Mane back in 2004, so icy, the same can be said about Emilie Stephenson who found ice when she was only four years old.
“I had my golden birthday at the Carencro rink when it was open and ever since then I’ve fallen in love with figure skating. Not until the rink opened when I was nine years old did, I start taking lessons at planet ice”, Emilie said.
The ice rink in Carencro was converted into a recreation center in 2015 but the doors to the Planet Ice Rink in Lafayette opened in 2011, allowing Emilie to take figure skating to another level.
“I started competitive ice skating when I was 13 years old. Skating is your time, it’s all of your time. It’s all of your effort and just to know that you know you start young. You can get there and it’s awesome to see”, Emilie said.
Getting there, as Emilie refers to it, is the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Nationals in Utah where she became the first skater from Louisiana to qualify for a national competition.
“I don’t have the words to even explain how I had felt to be representing Louisiana and representing everything that I had put down on that ice. I remember hugging my mom like we both just started breaking down in emotions because we were so happy”, Emilie said.
Emilie qualified for nationals in April after placing third at the Midwestern Regional Qualifier in March as she was thrilled to be a part of the competition in Indiana.
“I placed ninth out of twelve at nationals so not too bad. I still had landed all my jumps and still had done a clean program. Could’ve been more clean but just the experience was amazing to be able to be there”, Emilie said.
But what most don’t know is that Emilie didn’t even register for the regional qualifier until her training-mate convinced her to sign up.
“The registration was closing and I just told Emilie like why not. Why not go. It’s going to be a really hard-fought battle but why not go, what’s the worst that can happen? You get to skate in another rink. That sounds great”, Laura said.
Laura Russinsky has been Emilie’s training-mate and best friend since their coach moved away and she sees the hard work Emilie has put in on the ice.
“She’s the one who committed to her junior year at LSU, making time to skate and making time to get ready for nationals as a junior in college. That’s a huge deal and it’s a huge time commitment”, Laura said.
When asked what they would want to say to the next girl who wants to have similar success on the ice, they said, “Learning and even failing in some parts is just as huge of a lesson. It’s all about the desires, you know don’t give up on your dreams really and keep pushing because it’s really fulfilling in any sport you do.”
Emilie has already started training and is looking towards qualifying for nationals again in 2024.