Ellie, Sport Science
Ice skater, Ellie, is a UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park student. She also appears in the CBBC television series Ice Stars. She says:
Being on the ice feels so normal to me – as soon as I step onto it I get a real rush of excitement! My specialism is ice dancing, which is a bit like performing ballroom on ice and it’s really fun.
I began ice-skating at five-years-old when my grandma took me to a public ice rink session. I loved it so much she asked me if I wanted to start lessons and it’s grown from there.
After two years of skating, my coach encouraged me to begin training at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. I’ve taken part in lots of competitions during the last seven years, including representing Great Britain along with my ice dance partner, Josh Tarry, who I have teamed with for the last four years. We hope to compete again internationally if we do well in the British Ice Dance Championships.
I currently train 15 hours a week with Josh in Nottingham and at iceSheffield, which is just opposite the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. We were friends before we became ice skating partners, as we both started learning to skate at the same time, and we’re known as Team Jellie.
Our successes include coming second in the British Championships in Sheffield and first at the Welsh Open Figure Skating Championships during the 2014/15 season at both basic and advanced novice levels. We also won the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain IJS Sheffield advanced novice category at Ice Sheffield in 2015/16 and were ranked number one in Britain during that season.
I’m also being filmed for the third series of the CBBC documentary Ice Stars, having starred in the previous two series. The Ice Stars filming takes place at Nottingham Ice Centre and fits around my training. The programme aims to show a group of us who are involved in a variety of ice sports..
I joined the UTC in September in Year 10 and I feel really settled there. It’s only just opened on the Olympic Legacy Park and offers academic as well as technical qualifications in computing, health sciences and sport science. I’m completing GCSEs and a technical qualification in sport science. Employers are involved in the technical subjects that we study and have also helped to design the buildings, provide mentoring, course projects and work experience. I really enjoy the practical aspects of the course and the specialist equipment that we use. I like the fact that we get to visit employers including the English Institute of Sport and see how the subject we are studying relates to real life. I’m not sure what I want to do as a career just yet but I’m interested in physiotherapy and midwifery.
It is a challenge juggling my studies with ice dancing but as I’ve been doing this for several years now, I’m used to the hard work. The main issue is the early starts – I train five mornings a week for up to two hours with sessions beginning at 6am and finishing at 8am. I then make my way to the UTC and usually train after school as well.
To be a good ice dancer, you need to be strong, flexible, and have very good balance – it’s like being a gymnast on the ice. You also need to enjoy the performance – I love the theatrical side of the sport, especially the dresses which I make and design myself. I’m a shy person but once I step on to the ice, there’s a transformation.
It’s great to be able to combine my interest in the sport with my studies, and to have such fantastic training facilities on the doorstep.