BY CARRIE ANN SALVI
Katie Krafchik, 10, of New Hyde Park spun her way to a bronze medal at the Eastern Sectional Juvenile Ladies Championship in November, adding another rare accomplishment to her figure skating repertoire.
She also took the bronze medal at the North Atlantic sectionals and is the 94th MidAtlantic Sectional Juvenile Ladies Championship gold medalist. In January, she will join the best of the best in the United States at Nationals Camp, where the U.S. Skating Federation will monitor her performance.
Pouring years of effort and emotion into her most recent medaling performance, she skated to a program dedicated to and inspired by her late grandmother, with whom she spent time on the ice in her dream.
“She has all the ingredients to make a champion,” said Igor Krokavec, Katie’s coach. The world and Olympic master coach took the spirited skater on as a student just before the summer.
“From the very first lesson, I saw she was unique, she had something special in her,” Krokavec said.
“I have seen talented skaters who did not have that fire,” he said.
In addition to physical abilities she was born with, professionalism, attitude, intelligence, dedication and a “desire to be great” were noted by Krokavec as attributes for her success at such a young age.
Krokavec was greatly impressed with Katie’s progress in their first weeks working together when she improved the quality of each athletic and artistic requirement to compete against 17 from the Eastern section.
“She finished third in the sectionals and now she is a top skater in the United States for her age and level. That is a great achievement!” Krokavec said proudly. He encouraged supporters to follow her and the sport he loves for its beauty and fusion of athletics and artistry.
It began on her fifth birthday, according to her mother, Jayne Krafchik. She thought ice skating a good winter birthday gift, and noticed Katie had immediate balance and ability. Katie was enrolled in group classes for a year and then at 6, she began private bimonthly classes.
“We noticed her drive almost immediately. She would practice on her own for hours, watching older skaters and trying to master their moves,” Krafchik explained.
“Katie got the gold at her first competition!” she said.
Now training six days a week with four hours on the ice each day, the champion has little free time, but when she is not skating at Iceland in New Hyde Park or training in New Jersey, she enjoys cooking herself gourmet breakfasts, playing with her little sister and grandfather, and reading mystery novels.
Katie will now polish her triples and learn new jumps as a member of the 2020 USFS National High-Performance Camp Team with the top four skaters of the three sections. She will progress as a novice and then a junior, with age and consistency, her coach explained.
“I think by 13 or 14 she will compete and represent the U.S. internationally,” Krokavec said confidently.