Eight years ago, Sofia Bezkorovainaya was a 3-year-old girl enchanted by the performances of Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya at the Sochi Olympics. Now Sofia, who trains at the Ashburn Ice House in Loudoun, is the 2022 U.S. National Juvenile Figure Skating Champion with an Olympic dream of her own.
January is National Skating Month, and with the Beijing Winter Olympics next month, Loudoun Skating Facilities are celebrating impressive performances at national championships and preparing for a surge of interest in figure skating from across the country. share of children from all over Loudoun.
Sofia, now 11, started lessons once a week at age 3 and started private lessons at age 4. Now she takes online classes and trains around five hours a day in Ashburn with her coach Inna Volyanskaya.
And it all started with the ice house ice skating initiation program.
“The learn to skate program is so good for all ages,” Sofia said.
As a preschooler, she made friends and fell in love with skating. As a teenager, she made a commitment to go all the way.
Last week, Sofia, her mother Katya and coach Volyanskaya spoke withLoudoun NowUS National Figure Skating Championships in Nashville. Sofia had already won her title but stayed in Nashville for a national development camp and a chance to see America’s top senior skaters qualify for the Olympics.
The Ion International Training Center in Leesburg also had several skaters competing in Nashville, including the ice dance team Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, who are from Maryland and train in Leesburg. Green and Parsons earned a berth as Olympic alternates after an impressive fourth-place finish at the national ice dance championship. Last fall, Ion ITC was one of eight venues across the United States to host United States Figure Skating Championship Series events as national championship qualifiers.
Sofia and her family live in Springfield but travel to Ashburn Ice House to work with Volyanskaya, a famous pair skater who won numerous international competitions for the Soviet national team in the 1980s.
“We knew she was one of the best coaches in the region, that’s why we made this decision,” said Katya Bezkorovainaya.
Volyanskaya said running the Ice House and the learn-to-skate development program were part of the appeal for her as a coach.
“When you have a good learn-to-skate program, you can develop good skaters,” Volyanskaya said. “It’s great fun for the kids; they make friends and learn new things, have fun together and grow together.
Volyanskaya said skating facilities often experience a bump after the Winter Olympics, much like young Sofia was inspired by Lipnitskaya’s gold medal performance in 2014.
“She wanted to skate like her. I’m sure that after the Olympics there will be a lot of new kids inspired by the performances of the skaters,” said Katya Bezkorovainaya.
Volyanskaya said after the initial phase of learning to skate, some kids, like Sofia, catch the virus and have the talent and commitment to take it to the next level.
This year, Sofia won the youth division, open to skaters 13 and under. USA figure skating offers several levels before seniors, including intermediate and novice and junior levels. But Volyanskaya said Sofia will likely progress quickly due to their domestic win.
For Sofia, her passion means a lot of hard work and commitment, but she still taps into the pure joy of skating.
“I like the coldness of the ice rink. I love making friends there,” she said, adding that her favorite element is the triple flip, an impressive backward approached toe jump.
2026 or 2030 in Sophia’s future? Northern Virginia will be watching. But the Olympics are her goal and she’s ready to get to work.
“I’m going to do my best every time,” said Sofia.
For more information on figure skating programs at Ashburn Ice House, visit ashburnice.com
Follow Sofia Bezkorovainaya on Instagram at @sofiabezkorovainaya.
For more information about Ion International Training Center, visit ionitc.com.