Hina Ueno, 12, moved with her family from Japan to Utah eight years ago. For the past two and a half years, she has dedicated more than 20 hours per week to her love of figure skating. She hopes her dedication will one day allow her to compete in the Olympics.
“I did gymnastics first and I really wanted to be an Olympian then. But then, I kind of like skating a little better, so I guess, yeah, I kind of want to be an Olympian,” Hina said.
The championships in Omaha will be Hina’s first national competition experience.
“She’s driven, determined, intense – she’s got a lot of pretty amazing qualities,” said Stewart Sturgeon, Hina’s coach.
Hina’s routine is an advanced one for her age as it includes two triple jumps.
“Sometimes I get a little emotional and it carries me away, and then I can’t practice as good as I could if I controlled my thoughts,” Hina said of one of the challenges she faces on the ice.