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With 2014 finally upon us, the Olympics in Sochi, Russia seem to be approaching faster than Lolo Jones running hurdles. Winter Olympic hopefuls are jumping their own hurdles, trying to make it to that finish line called the Opening Ceremonies. Two of those athletes are part of Janet TV’s list of 2014 Winter Olympians to Watch: Figure Skating’s Ashley Wagner and luge’s Erin Hamlin.
When Ashley Wagner was five years old, her mother asked her to choose between two activities: ballet and skating. Two years later she won her first gold medal. That same year she watched Tara Lipinski capture the ladies singles title at the 1998 Winter Olympics. She knew then that she wanted to do the same, and has been working hard to reach her goal ever since.
Wagner, the daughter of an army officer, was born in 1991 on a US Army base in Heidelberg, Germany. Her father’s military service had the family moving often and, as a result, Wagner had several coaches during her early years of figure skating. None of this deterred her, however. She won several junior titles before taking the senior circuit by storm. By the end of the 2013 season, Wagner had won the US Figure Skating Championships two years in a row, the first skater to do so since Michelle Kwan did it in 2005.
Click the Screen below to see Ashley competing.
Along the way, Wagner faced a major hurdle: terrible full-body muscle spasms knocked her out of commission for part of the 2010-2011 season. The spasms were a mystery until a chiropractor discovered that one of her vertebrae was out of place. The condition was corrected with physical therapy.
Now, with both the physical therapy and her consecutive national championships in the rear view mirror, Ashley Wagner has her sights set on accomplishing what Lipinski did years ago. As long as she stays healthy, she has a great shot at it.
Click the Arrow above right to see Luge competitor Erin Hamlin.