There is no greater winter sport than ice skating. The figure skating and ice dance competitions provide a unique combination of sophistication and elegance alongside technical perfection, strength, and a competitive spirit. One of the greatest things about the world of professional ice skating is that there are always new, young athletes coming through who are ready to challenge the very best, as these five ice skating stars of the future demonstrate.
1. Alina Zagitova
It may seem strange to begin our list with Alina Zagitova, as she is very much at the top of the figure skating tree right now, but at just 15 years of age, she has the ability to dominate for many years to come. Alina fulfilled all her potential in February of this year when she captured the hearts of viewers across the globe, as well as capturing the PyeongChang Winter Olympics gold medal. The key to Alina’s success is that she makes the most complicated routines look effortless, and even after failing with one jump early in her gold medal-winning round, she had the composure to complete it successfully later in the routine.
2. Elena Radionova
One woman who is sure to challenge Alina’s dominance in the years to come is Elena Radionova, another of the talented new crop of figure skating athletes to come from Russia. Still a teenager, Elena was Junior World Champion in 2013 and 2014, becoming the first ever female skater to become a dual junior champion. Since transitioning to the senior ranks, the success has continued to come, and among her greatest achievements was a first-place finish in 2017’s prestigious Winter Universidad competition.
3. Mackenzie Bent
Watching Olympic standard ice dancing is a magical experience demonstrating a perfect fusion of sport and artistry. One woman who seems sure to make an impact in future Olympic ice dancing competitions is 20-year-old Mackenzie Bent. Born in Ontario in Canada, she took first place in the 2016 Canadian National Championships, alongside her ice dance partner Garrett Mackeen.
4. Marjorie Lajoie
One of Mackenzie’s main competitors in future ice dance competitions could be her compatriot Marjorie Lajoie, three years her junior, but already the 2017 and 2018 National Junior Champion. Marjorie, skating with Zachary Laga, took 4th in the 2016 Junior Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, but as she shows continual improvement and a steely determination, she will have her eyes on bigger prices as she enters the senior skating ranks. Marjorie is also a star in Canada for another reason, having appeared in their hit TV series ‘Just Kidding’, so she certainly has the charisma that can go a long way in ice dancing competitions.
These four figure skaters and ice dancers compete at a supremely high level and will doubtless inspire up and coming skaters throughout their careers. Following in their footsteps doesn’t have to cost a lot, as professional quality skates from specialist manufacturers like Riedell are surprisingly affordable. You may never win an Olympic gold, but skating around your local rink is great exercise and one of the most enjoyable sporting pastimes you can take part in.