TITLE: Olympic Dreams- chapter 1
By Karie Spiller
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The wind was blowing and the leaves were beautiful. Suzanna Fitch had just finished her early morning practice session when her coach came out on to the ice.
“Guess what?” he said to her with a merry little twinkle in his eye, “I just talked on the phone with the Olympic committee. The 3rd place skater dropped out and they have offered you her spot on the Olympic figure skating team. They really liked your performance at the Worlds.”
Suzanna beamed with delight as she thought about her dreams of becoming an Olympic star. When she had placed 4th at the Worlds she was upset and thought about giving up on her dream, but her coach reminded her that she could try again in 2 years. Now just knowing that she was good enough to go made her swell up with pride.
For a minute she couldn’t speak and then she let out a squeal of delight. “I can’t believe it!,” she said as she hugged her coach. “Wait till dad finds out,” she said.
When she got home she called her dad at work and told him, “Daddy, Guess what, I was chosen for the Olympic team.” Her father shared in her delight.
“Congratulations honey,” he said. They talked for a few minutes more and then she hung up the phone to catch her ride to school. At school she told her teachers her news and everyone shared her excitement. Nothing this big had happened in her small town in a long time, if ever.
The weeks preceding the Olympics went by in a flash. Her days were filled with endless practices and lots of failures. She worked hard and practiced a lot. Her coach was very pleased with her progress and they started to work out a routine that would be good for Suzanna. One day during an extremely long practice, Coach Timmers came in to the rink with some important looking people.
“Suzanna,” Coach Timmers said, “This is Gary Jenkins, he’s the Olympic coach and you might know him as the coach of Tom Green. Tom has made the team as well and Coach Jenkins is going to work with you and Tom in New York City to get you ready for the Olympics. I will be going with you and you will be able to meet Todd Birch. He’s the Olympic advisor and will be working with you as well,”
Suzanna smiled as she shook their hands. Todd and his sister Mary were one of her inspirations for skating. They started out in pairs, but for some reason Mary had decided not to skate anymore and Todd had gone solo. He had won bronze at the previous Olympics, but had fractured his ankle shortly after that and was no longer skating in competitions. Suzanna couldn’t wait to meet him.
The day for the trip to New York City arrived. It was a cold day in January. A snowstorm had covered the ground with a blanket of white snow.
As she said goodbye to her dad she cried, “Daddy, can’t you come with me,” She said. You haven’t missed one of my performances yet,”.
“Honey, I’ll be there before your first performance. Don’t worry. Have I ever let you down? I have to be here for the Winter Bible Conference, but I will see you at the Games,” her dad said.
Suzanna left her small town and went to the big city. The tall buildings seemed to go on and on. The lights from the city blared and the traffic was very noisy. As they got through the traffic they ended up at the skating rink. It was late so they checked in at their hotel and went to bed. Early the next morning Suzanna got a wake up call from Coach Timmers. She got dressed and met him in the lobby. Together they went to the rink where they were greeted by Coach Jenkins and Tom Green. Todd was on the ice, but he came in when he saw them.
“Suzanna Fitch,” he said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve been following your performances and I think you are probably one of the best woman skaters I’ve seen in a long time.”
Suzanna blushed, “Thank you,” she said, “I guess I would have to say the same for you. I’ve always wanted to meet you.”
Just then Tom spoke up,
“Hi Suzanna,” he said. Maybe you and I could get together sometime. I haven’t seen you since the Worlds and it would be fun to hang out with you. I have my routine down cold so I don’t need as much practice as everyone else,”.
“No thanks Tom, some of us need to practice,” she said.
He was still the same egotistical person as he had been at the Worlds. He had a reputation as a real hound, but since he was so good at skating no one seemed to notice, except Suzanna. She had to admit, he was a good skater, probably the best in his field at the time, but he made her nervous.
Suzanna went out on to the ice to warm up. She did a couple of laps and a few small jumps and then she did some spins. Todd watched as she warmed up. She was good, really good, and pretty too. Her long auburn pony tail blew in the breeze as she skated.
After practice that morning she had a meeting with Coach Jenkins. Coach Timmers and her walked through her routines with Coach Jenkins and showed him her outfits she had picked out for them.
Everything was going well until Tom came in and commented,
“You know you might want to pick a little something a little shorter. The judges enjoy seeing a little leg. Don’t you think so, Coach Timmers?”
“Tom, what she wears is totally up to her. I want her to be as comfortable as possible. Her own unique style is her own business,” Coach Timmers said.
Suzanna spoke up, “Tom do you think that I would have won the Worlds any better if I had worn short skirts instead of these things. I won that competition on my own merits and I am not compromising my beliefs for extra marks.”
“Well look at the preacher’s kid. Funny, I thought that your Daddy had taught you to be seen and not heard. Wouldn’t want to hurt Daddy now would we?” Tom said.
Suzanna wanted to say something but she held her tongue and kept her comments to herself.
Coach Jenkins stood up and said, “Tom, you are way out of line!”
Tom sat down next to Suzanna and whispered, “You know I’m right, don’t you?” . Suzanna just ignored him.
After the meeting Todd took Suzanna aside and said, “I heard what you said to Tom and I must say that I am impressed, but why is it that you dislike Tom so much?”
“It’s a long story that goes back a long ways. He’s a great skater, but that is about all he is. He is the most egotistical spoiled brat that I know,” Suzanna said.
“I know what you mean. I just met the guy today and he is already starting to get on my nerves, but you need to settle down and put the past behind you. You have a medal to win. It’s going to affect your performance and you have the ability to bring the gold home,” Todd said.
“You really think so, because I don’t know. The Russian skater is really good and she will be hard to beat,” Suzanna said.
“Yes I really think you can win. You are very good at what you do, and you have more years behind you than most of the other skaters. You have a maturity that they don’t have.” Todd said.
“Thanks Todd,” she said.
Later that day the pairs team arrived and Suzanna was introduced to Monique Smith and Jerry Fielder. She had seen them at competitions on several occasions but she never really talked to them.
“Monique will be rooming with you,” Coach Timmers said.
“Nice to see you again Monique,” Suzanna said.
“You too,” she said, “Isn’t this exciting!”
“Yes it is,” Suzanna said.
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