Meet the Blackpool ice queen

Figure skater Lydia Smart is heading to the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs for six months

Figure skater Lydia Smart is heading to the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs for six months

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Young athlete Lydia Smart knows a thing or two about hard work.

Young athlete Lydia Smart knows a thing or two about hard work.

The 18-year-old, of South Shore, has spent more than a decade enduring 4.30am starts to train in her chosen sport – figure skating – before school, as well as returning to the rink after school for more.

That’s not even mentioning the extra training she has also does regularly – including ballet classes, flexibility sessions and gym sessions.

And she still managed to leave school with an A*, A and B in her A-levels.

She hopes to go to university next year to study sports science. But for now, she has her sights firmly set on a sporting goal.

Her lifelong dream is to become an Olympic athlete – and she is certainly on track when it comes to competing this year.

This season there has not been a competition where she hasn’t placed first, second or third.

In 2012, she was selected by the NISA (National Ice Skating Association) of Great Britain to become part of the International Development Squad.

And she has now been invited to train in Colorado Springs in the USA, at an Olympic figure skating training centre, with world-class Olympic coaches.

The cost of the training is high – £330 a week for the coaching and £290 a week to stay with a family.

Lydia – who trains currently at the Pleasure Beach Ice Arena – is hoping Fylde coast residents will help keep her Olympic dream alive.

She is currently working as a waitress, in a bid to save up money for the trip, but is restricted with how many hours she can work due to her gruelling training regime.

She said: “The lack of financial support in some spirts is an issue close to my heart, I hope one day to set up an academy offering young aspiring athletes such as myself affordable training, psychology and nutritional advice.

“This invitation is an opportunity of a lifetime, which will no doubt help me achieve my Olympic goals.”

Lydia said: “This would give me the top level of coaching and support needed to become an Olympic athlete. To get the Olympics is something I have wanted all my life.

“It’s every athlete’s dream.

“I have fought hard to keep my dreams of an Olympic medal alive, fighting against a lack of support and the financial strain competing in this sport already holds on my family.

“I truly believe this trip will change my life, and through years of dedication, commitment and endless sacrifices, I have earned my place there.

“To miss out on an opportunity such as this would be devastating – and to think money is a limiting factor on achieving my full potential is heart-breaking.”

Former AKS pupil Lydia competed in her first British championships at the age of 12.

She hopes eventually to one day go into coaching others in the sport.

She said: “I am really interested in sports psychology.

“A lot of skating is about the mental side of things.

“After all the hours of training and practice, you just have three-and-a-half minutes to show what you can do.

“It’s a lot of pressure.

“It’s not just about the physical side of things.”

Lydia is holding a raffle and several other events to help her raise money to achieve her ambition.

She said: “Any form of support would be absolutely amazing.

“It would mean the world to me.”

Visit www.gofundme.com and search for Lydia Smart to give Lydia support.