BG Teen Leaves for Figure Skating Championships - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

BG Teen Leaves for Figure Skating Championships

BOWLING GREEN -- It's been a big year for 18-year-old Alissa Czisny. She won a gold medal at Skate Canada, a silver medal at Skate America and most recently, she represented the United States in Tokyo, Japan where she finished sixth at the Grand Prix Final. 2006 could prove to be even bigger for Czisny. In mid January, Czisny will compete with the best figure skaters in America at the United States Figure Skating Championships.

Since it's an Olympic year, it means that much more. "My goal at Nationals is to compete the best that I can, and if I do my best, I hope I can make the Olympic team," said Czisny. Her parents, Mark and Debbie Czisny said, "we've just told her to have fun this whole season because it doesn't come very often."

Czisny's family, friends, coaches and supporters turned out Wednesday night at the BGSU Ice Arena to celebrate the young skater's accomplished career, and to wish her well at Nationals. Czisny's twin sister, Amber, who's also an accomplished figure skater, was right at her side.

The two women have become an inspiration for other young skaters. Larissa Leck and Erica Rybak posed for a picture with Alissa. "I'm kind of nervous for her, but excited," said Rybak. Alissa said, "I think going to Nationals I'm probably a bit of an underdog, which is sometimes better because you have less pressure on you, and you can compete better."

Shelly Bressler started coaching the Czisny twins at age 2. She said she has high hopes for Alissa at the National competition in three weeks. "It depends on when she steps on the ice. It's up to the skates," laughed Bressler. She said, "nobody really knows."

Bressler is probably one of Alissa's biggest fans besides her parents. "Mark always tells [Alissa] to smile," said Debbie. Mark said, "I just want to make sure she smiles for her dad."

The 2006 United States Figure Skating Championship will be held January 7th-15th in St. Louis, MO. The Olmypic Winter Games kick off in Turin, Italy February 10th.

Posted by AEB