Fans line up to watch Olympians practice in Ellenton - WFLA News Channel 8

Fans line up to watch Olympians practice in Ellenton

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U.S. Olympians Nathan Bartholomay and Felicia Zhang practiced in Ellenton U.S. Olympians Nathan Bartholomay and Felicia Zhang practiced in Ellenton
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Fans waited patiently in line at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.  After all, it's not every day people get to see Olympians show their athletic prowess.

U.S. pairs figure skaters Nathan Bartholomay and Felicia Zhang were the featured attractions during their first open skate since returning from the U.S. Nationals in Boston.  They finished second by three-tenths of a point, then earned a selection committee's vote Sunday to make their Olympic dreams come true.

"Olympians, just saying that, it's..." Bartholomay said after last Saturday night's performance.

"I'm just so honored and proud to be a part of this," said Zhang.  "16 years after starting skating for both of us, it's a dream come true".


The trip to Sochi is special for Bartholomay and Zhang, who were underdogs heading into Nationals.  They will train for the next 15 days along with fellow Olympians Stacy Kemp and David King, who are skating for Great Britain.

The fans in attendance on Friday couldn't believe their good fortune.


"Fantastic!" said Kathy Marsh.  "And now we feel like we have a connection to them when they Olympics come and we're going to be so much more excited to see them and cheer for them."

"It makes a big difference," said Linda Tolen. 

"Oh, and how they pick up speed so rapidly, it's just incredible to go from a dead stop to swoosh!  Just like that! Yeah, so fast," added her sister, Judy Edwards.


The Olympians will have four more public workouts and skating sessions along with a Nate and Felicia send-off party at the rink Saturday, January 25th at noon.

The other open sessions, which are free to the public, are as follows:

Friday, January 24   1:10-2:10 pm

Saturday, January 25  12 pm

Wednesday, January 29  1:10-2:10

Friday, January 31  1:10-2:10


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