Charlotte Hodgkinson, a student at Gillotts School, has won the British Junior Ice Skating Pairs Championship with her skating partner, Elliot Appleby in Sheffield.
Charlotte first put ice skates on when she was just 2½ years old. She said, “My Mum used to take me to burn off some energy as I was quite full on at that age.”
As well as ice skating, Charlotte enjoyed gymnastics at a young age. She first started having weekly ice skating lessons when she was 7. At aged 8, Charlotte had to choose one sport to focus on and she chose ice skating but still helps coach at Vision Gymnastics Club and plays hockey at Henley Hockey Club.
Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice TV shows influenced Charlotte to get into ice skating. She said, “I love these shows and begged my Mum to take me skating. I also love all the dressing up and sparkly costumes.”
Charlotte first started entering solo competitions when she was 11 and came second at a club competition in Oxford and podiumed at various other competitions from this age. She is ranked number 7 in the UK as a solo skater in her novice category.
She currently trains 16 hours on the ice and 5 hours off the ice before and after school. She skates 4 days at Slough and 2 days at Romford. She fits in her school work round her skating, getting up at 5am or earlier in the mornings to train.
In the summer of 2020, her coach Peter Christmas-Kjaer organised for her to go to Romford to do some training with John Wicker another coach, he organised a pairs’ trial with Elliot Appleby of Wivenhoe in Essex, and we just seemed to click. Charlotte explains, “Elliot is 19 years old and has been skating since he was 6. At the British Championships we won both our programmes with a clear margin. I was very excited when we won and it was nice feeling to see that all of our hard work paid off.”
Ice skating is a dangerous sport. Luckily Charlotte hasn’t broken anything on the ice. She however comments, “I was always on the go as a kid and have broken my foot and dislocated my elbow when I was younger just messing around on the playground, though I do get lots of bruises from skating.”
What would Charlotte say to someone who is looking at taking up ice skating? She replied, “Enjoy the feeling of mastering new elements but be prepared for a very long journey ahead.”
The skating pair have now been offered to compete in international competitions starting in February in the Netherlands. They are also waiting to hear whether they have been selected to go to a special training Camp in Germany in April by the International Ice Skating Union.
Charlotte’s Mum, Rachael said, “I can give all my time to Charlotte as my older son has left home and lives in London. When we started on this journey, I hadn’t intended it to be where it is now, it’s grown organically. Charlotte works really hard and she really loves her sport. I work around it and we just make it work.”
Competing on the European and World Circuit is Charlotte’s dream and her big ambition is to compete at the Winter Olympics in the future. The pair she aspires to be like are Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot who were the Olympics pair champions in 2018. Charlotte comments that to compete at this level they need certain elements, “We’re already working on triple throw jumps and double twists for the future.”
We wish Charlotte and Eliot good luck with their ice skating competitions this year.
Photos: Digital Photo Events