Chorley Winter Olympics star puts life on ice
SKATING star Stacey Kemp hopes to dazzle judges at next month’s Winter Olympics and the athlete has put everything on hold to realise her dream — including a family Christmas and her own wedding.
Stacey, 25, is in the midst of a rigorous training programme that could propel her and her ice partner, fiance David King, into pole position at the Sochi Olympics in Russia, beginning on February 7.
Stacey, who studied textiles at Blackburn College, and David are training in Florida — racking up an impressive 30 hours a week on the ice.
So it all leaves little time to plan their nuptials, with their wedding itself on ice since David popped the question during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.
The end of the Sochi Olympics will mark the next stage of their lives together as, once the competition is over, the pair plan on setting a date.
Chorley-born Stacey said: “We’ve looked into a few things and done a small amount of planning, but we have just had to put it on hold until after Sochi.
“We didn’t have enough time in the UK to plan things and we don't want to rush things.
“After Sochi, we can actually enjoy planning and look at places while we’re in the UK instead of doing everything over the internet.”
And because the pair have been training in Florida, the Kemp family Christmas festivities back in Chorley have also been postponed until March. Stacey said: “We got Christmas Day off from training but only because the ice rink was closed!
“Otherwise, I think our coaches would have had us training as normal.
“We spent the morning on Skype with our families back home and opened some presents over Skype . . . but we will get all the family together to celebrate our Christmas later this year.
“My mum has frozen a turkey ready.”
Stacey’s love affair with ice skating began in 1994, aged six, after watching the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
Encouraged by her beloved grandfather Tom Johnson, a young Stacey trained at Blackburn Ice Arena.
She said: “My grandad, along with my nanna, took me to Blackburn three times a weeks, so that I was able to train while my mum and dad were at work.
“My grandad used to stand at the side of the ice to motivate me and he would praise everything I did as he just loved to watch me skate and to see me enjoying myself.”
The rapidly improving skater teamed up with David, from Carlisle, who came to Blackburn to train in 2003.
Together, they began competing in 2004, winning first place in the junior category of the British Championship the first time of asking.
Since then, they have entered the British Championship every year, winning eight titles in a row and finishing second last year.
They began competing internationally in 2005, and two years later, when Stacey was 18 and David 22, they left the home they shared in Blackburn and moved to Poland to be trained by Mariusz and Dorotan Suidek.
The pair made their Olympic debut in Vancouver in 2010, where they finished 16th.
Stacey said: “I remember watching the 1994 Winter Olympics on TV.
“I saw a Ukrainian 16-year-old girl, Oksana Baiul, win gold in a pretty pink dress and from that day it was always my dream to become an Olympian representing Great Britain at a Winter Olympic Games.
“I didn’t think it would ever actually happen but I just kept chasing my dream.
“It’s a very exciting road and we are both extremely excited about it but our aims are just to give the best performances we can and enjoy every moment of our Olympic story.”
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