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Olympic dreams fall on hard times
Spending some time at the Castle Ice Arena in Renton, watching Islander Faith Cook practice her figure skating skills, you realize how competitive — and cutthroat — this sport is. Cook is undoubtedly talented, performing the same moves over and over for her coach of three years, Jeri Campbell, the 1987 Junior Ladies Nationals Champion and the Olympic alternate in 1988.
But all of that training and repetition has paid off.
On July 7, Faith, now 11, won gold at the Star Spangled Skate in the pre-preliminary class at Comcast Arena in Everett. Although not a qualifier, the win elevates her one more step with the United States Figure Skating Association, moving her closer to senior ladies level.
She still has six more levels to go, but this young lady, who will enter sixth grade at Islander Middle School in the fall, has Olympic aspirations. It is her goal to compete in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“This girl is going somewhere,” said her mother, Victoria Cook.
Victoria Cook is extremely supportive and proud of her daughter. Not only does she skate with precision and grace, she qualified for the Miss Teen Pageant in Orlando in 2013.
The youngest of seven children, including former MIHS track star Queen Cook, Victoria Cook has been a single mom for several years. The family moved to Mercer Island from Texas when Victoria was transferred with American Airlines, a company she had worked for on the ramp for 23 years. Victoria was laid off in February 2010, and it has been a struggle ever since.
Faith Cook started skating at age 3 at Lloyd Center in Portland, but stopped a year or so later, resuming the sport at age 8 when she moved to Mercer Island with her mom and brother, Kwame.
Training, ice time, costumes, travel — it all costs an incredible amount of money, but Victoria Cook is not about to let her daughter’s dreams not come true.
“Maybe I’m using her ice skating to hold on to something empty, I don’t know,” Victoria said as we watched Faith skate, spin and strike stunning poses on the ice.
It’s obvious the stress is taking a toll on this mom who is willing to give up just about everything to make the dream come true for her youngest child.
Victoria believes in her daughter, as she does all of her children. But it’s time to get sponsors and folks to help her finance her training. She is concerned about damaging Faith’s self-esteem if they don’t get some resources coming in.
If you would like to see Faith skate and/or offer support or a sponsorship, contact Victoria Cook at (503) 560-1449.
An account has been set up at U.S. Bank to assist in her training, number 253557024416.
You can see her training at Castle Ice Arena from Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.