SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KRON) — Kids twirled and tumbled as they gleefully slid around an outdoor ice rink in downtown Sunnyvale. Eventually the upbeat music stopped and someone on a microphone announced that everyone had to clear off the ice for a bit.
As kids sat down to untie their laces, they noticed one young woman was still skating. Their eyes widened with wonder. The figure skater was so graceful and flawless gliding over the ice that she looked like Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.”
The figure skater was Olympian Polina Edmunds.
Edmunds, 21, of Santa Clara, California, was there to show her support for creating more ice rinks and other athletic facilities amidst a rapidly-growing Silicon Valley.
Edmunds, who has been on skates since she was 2-years-old, said, “ It’s great to share the passion and love for skating.”
“Figure skating has been an integral part of my life and I would love to help make it accessible to Silicon Valley residents and enthusiasts. Skating is a wonderful way to stay active and incorporate artistry, athletics and dedication for all ages and stages of life,” she said.
Edmunds and a community group, the Silicon Valley Ice Skating Association, rallied enough momentum to open the new rink this winter.
Tech giants including Facebook and Google helped fund building and opening the outdoor rink for the winter. Organizers are now hoping that the rink’s popularity will turn it into a permanent place for skating.
A local nonprofit recently funded a day of free skating for children from low-income neighborhoods.
“It is so important to have incredible leaders of our Olympic community joining forces to protect our local athletics,” said the group’s founder, Sarah Feldman.
“I love being able to see people be excited to watch me skate, and in turn, see people step on the ice, even if it’s for the first time,” Edmunds said.
With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games coming up, Edmunds shared her advice for young athletes who dream of one day making it to the world stage.
Consistency, hard work, and maintaining confidence are key, she said.
“It takes a lot of work and dedication and discipline to be at the top of any sport,” Edmunds said.
When she competed on Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, “one of the biggest quotes that was everywhere was, ‘This is your moment.'”
“How I stayed calm and collected, under such an immense spotlight, was (by) imagining and pretending that I was on home ice, that I was on my every-day rink here in San Jose. That really grounded me,” Edmunds said.