SPOKANE, Wash- The Beijing Winter Olympics are fast approaching, athletes from across the country are preparing to make the case to their respective sports, that they deserve a spot on the team.
Last week the United States Figure Skating Association hosted its annual nationals competition, skaters were across the country decided on Sin City with the hope of making a mark on the skating world.
One of those skaters is from the Seattle area, Jean-Luc Baker, he represents the Seattle Figure Skating Club.
Baker and his skating partner Kaitlin Hawayek represent Team USA on behalf of USFSA in the sport of ice dance.
The ice dancing team made major waves in the sport of figure skating over the last few years, just last weekend they had a podium finish which will help make the case that they deserve to go to the Olympics.
“We felt really good getting the third-place position,” Baker said, “we were happy with our performances that we put out— we know that it’s a tall order to be competitive with the two teams in front of us.”
With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, every skate has a bigger meaning, Team USA usually sends three ice dance teams to the Olympics.
“It would be such an honor to represent Team USA,” Baker said, “I mean the prestigiousness of been part of Team USA at the Olympic games, it’s just amazing.”
Within the figure skating world, it's safe to say, Baker and Hawayek are poised to make the team.
Baker says he and his partner continue to work hard every day to make that case, and their goal is to continue to put down programs that reassure that to the judges.
“It would mean the world [to go to the Olympics], I’ve spent my whole life training for these opportunities,” Baker said, “being able to do that at the Olympics, I think would be awesome because that’s one of the only few events that I haven’t done in my career.”
Skating is rich in his blood, he comes from a skating family his, mom was an Olympian who represented Team Great Britain, and his dad was a pairs skater.
They were his first coaches who are actively involved in his skating career.
“You know they are phenomenal parents in the aspects of they were my coaches- and they would love to still give the help when I ask for it,” Baker said, “but they’re amazing in the aspect of being able just to sit back and watch the performance and me knowing that I have support there as parents his just making it blossom, even more, my career that is.”
If he were to go to the Olympics he would be one of the few figure skaters to represent the state of Washington, Rosalynn Sumners being one of the most recent, in the 1984 games.
Baker says that he feels his attendance would send a strong message to kids at local ice rinks across the state.
“Being able to not be in a huge training facility, like quote on quote you would see in California or Colorado— I think coming from a state like that you have perceived expectations of being great,” Baker said, “now from Washington you don’t think of many great athletes let alone skaters coming from here- and now we’re starting to get a bigger growth in the area. But I think it would be such an honor to be kind of a role model, and just show the youth and everybody that anything is possible.”