Huthwaite youngster Bethan Whiteman is following in the blade tracks of brother Jamie as she rises up the rankings in the world of figure skating as she chases her Olympics dream.
The 16-year-old has just moved up to Junior Ladies level (U19) from Novice Ladies level (U15) and heralded her arrival with third place among 27 top class juniors from countries all over the world, skating for Great Britain at the Kempen Trophy competition in Belgium.
Only just having turned 16, that left her ranked eighth U19 in Britain and fuelled her burning ambition to skate at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
That Bethan should want to skate is no surprise as brother Jamie is a GB international, though currently out of action with a stress fracture of his foot.
But trying to achieve excellence has meant giving up a lot, including her schooling at Ashfield Comprehensive, and also meant ‘Taxi Mum and Dad’ have had a gruelling daily dawn trip to Coventry to undertake where Bethan is being coached by renowned Russian figure skating coach Yuri Bureiko at the Planet Ice rink.
“We first took Bethan to the old Sutton ice rink when she was about six years old with her brother, said dad Steve.
“She began skating the UK Levels with coach Louisa Thompson, who still coaches at the new Ashfield Ice Skating Club.
“At the age of eight or nine we moved her to Nottingham as it was a bigger rink, and now she trains at Coventry on a daily basis.
“She spends about 10-11 hours a week on the ice and it does mean a fair bit of driving for me and her mum, Louise, and me going back and forward to Coventry.
“She starts there at 7am so that means getting up at 4.30am most mornings. You get used to it. After 10 years it just becomes a daily routine. We do a fair bit of mileage.”
Bethan is also schooled at home now to make sure her academic needs fit in around her skating ambitions.
“Taking her out of school was a big decision. But she had shown a decent talent which she wants to pursue and eventually go into coaching.
“She wanted to progress so we pulled her out of school so she could concentrate on skating and be able to do her schoolwork in her free time.
“She is very dedicated and well driven, though she does have a social network with friends so she can relax and keep her lifestyle balanced.”
Not surprisingly, Bethan’s ambition would be to skate at the Olympics.
“That is her ultimate aim,” said Steve. “She needs to work her way through the ranks and compete at British, European and World Championships, then finally the Olympics.
“I do believe she is capable of it. She would be a bit young for the next one in 2018 but maybe the one after?”