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Local figure skaters anticipate new Olympic group skating event

By Trish Hartman, Reporter, THartman@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 06 2014 05:19:12 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 07:19:13 PM CST

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games got underway today, including a brand new event: team figure skating.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games got underway today, including a brand new event: team figure skating.

Ella Kavitt, 13, of Bethlehem, is an aspiring Olympian who can't wait to watch the figure skaters perform in the winter games.

"I'm excited to see Gracie Gold. I feel I can really relate to her because she's had a lot of struggles," said Kavitt.

Kavitt, who has ten years of figure skating under her belt, was not alone as she was practicing her jumps at Bethlehem Steel Ice Center.

Staff members say they're seeing more people hitting the ice in anticipation of the winter games.

Mary Rossignuolo, 15, was one of them.

"It's really exciting to see the new skaters and what they're doing in their programs and pretty much everything," said Rossignuolo.

For skating enthusiasts, a new event will debut during the games in Sochi: team figure skating.

Fifteen figure skaters from the U.S. will compete as a team in singles, pairs and ice dancing.

The country with the highest combined score takes home the gold.

Angela Davis, a skating instructor and manager at Bethlehem Steel Ice Center, thinks the team event has good and bad aspects.

"I think it's great because we're going to have more exposure for skating and I'm excited to have an opportunity to watch it more and for it to be more prevalent in the Olympics," said Davis. "I am concerned however that the athletes are going to have to perform twice so it's going to make their job a little bit bigger"

Fifth and sixth grade students from the Arts Academy Charter School in Allentown practice figure skating five days a week at Bethlehem Steel Ice Center.

They say they can't wait to watch the Olympics.

Sixth Grader Ashlee Galea said, "I just like to see all the skaters and watch them do all their cool tricks."

Tom Hickey, Director of Figure Skating at Arts Academy Charter School said, " The Olympics is the Ultimate. If you want to become a skater, usually the first thing a little boy or little girl wants to do is go to the Olympics."

Hickey says the Olympics - and the new team event - will help gain exposure for the sport and push students to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.

For sixth grader Jeselle Bracero, that's not necessarily the Winter Games.

"I hope I get on Disney on Ice," she said. "I really love choreography."