Russian Time Magazine

Raise a Champion: practical advice from the parents of a figure skating prodigy

Every parent knows how difficult it is to create this perfect balance, but have made their son a champion out of it.

At such a young age, Michael Kislyuk is already a novice ice skating champion who has won numerous awards, teaches an ice skating class at the local South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena and is on his way to be a straight A student.

You might say that this boy is something of a wunderkind, that he is one of the few children that have mastered the balancing act that not every child can overcome, however, this is a flawed mentality. Every child can become a champion of sorts and the secret to this is simpler than you’d think – the secret is parent’s involvement.

Michael’s ice skating career did not begin effortlessly. The charismatic young boy began skating when he was just three years-old and surprisingly he hated it and couldn’t stand that the ice was so cold. Nevertheless, there was still a small part of him that was drawn to his newly found passion. Michael’s parents jokingly say that they struck out of luck after he discovered his love for ice skating as, “now we can never pull him out of there. The ice rink is like his second house”.

For Michael, ice skating is his life, “I can do anything on ice”, he says. The young boy spends most of his free time in an ice area and his usual weekly schedule consists of spending six days a week at an ice skating arena and five to six hours stretching and being on ice, while also fitting in school work. Michael calls his biggest enemy homework, yet, he’s still a straight A student and has passed many of his classmates in science, math, English, and social studies.

Every child can become a champion of sorts and the secret to this is simpler than you’d think – the secret is parent’s involvement

To many children competition is something to be the youngest ice skater competing in his rank. Nonetheless, this does not bother Michael, “I may be small, but I have a big personality”.

This young ice skater’s talent has definitely not gone unnoticed by the local surrounding area and at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena he even has his own wall of fame showcasing his pictures, trophies, and awards he has won over the years. Besides this, he also has his own ice skating class at this ice arena where he teaches five year old children to other kids. This makes me prouder of him than when he wins competitions”.

Although, Michael is considered something of a celebrity in South Lake Tahoe, he says he doesn’t like being called a “star” or “famous”. He just considers himself a normal kid with a passion for ice skating. Even with ice skating taking up a significant amount of his life, Michael still finds time to become a novice ranked ice skater, which is only two levels below the last and final senior ranking in ice skating.

“I’m really thankful for my parents, my grandparents, and everyone who supports me.

I couldn’t have done it without them”

Michael Kislyuk

“Even if a child is super talented, the talent will go to do something they don’t want, but rather push them in the direction of doing something they already enjoy and that will benefit them in the future. “Nothing is easy, but it builds their character. If they work hard on their passion, they’ll work hard in their lives”.

Michael could have never become an ice skating champion if his parents did not dedicate so much of their time, money, and most importantly their unwavering support. Michael’s parents are constantly with him and encouraging him while he is in the rink. Michael definitely understands this unwavering support and has said many times, “I’m really thankful for my parents, my grandparents, and everyone who supports me. I couldn’t have done it without them”.

…competing is Michael’s favorite part of ice skating and because of this enthusiasm for competing he has won “to count”

Everyone deserves a chance to achieve their goals, every second of parent involvement is not only vital, but treasured by the whole family.

Michael may have never realized he had a passion for ice skating if it wasn’t for his parents. It is highly likely that you too could follow the example of Michael’s parents and unearth a passion in your child that you never even knew existed. Anyhow, does anyone know if the local ice skating arena is still open?

  • The US Figure Skating (USFS) sports organization has created tests with different levels that allows athletes to take the test and compete with others that are around the same level or ice skating. The ranks are as follows
  • Intro
  • Pre-Prelim
  • Preliminary
  • Pre-Juvinile
  • Juvinile
  • Intermediate
  • Novice – Michael is here
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Michael earlier in his ice-skating career was trained by Sergei Ponomarenko, three-time World Champion and 1992 Olympic Champion.
  • Michael has custom-made skates.
  • Michael attends two schools because he is so ahead of his classmates. He attends regular public school, and then takes online classes. He is in 6th grade, but is in 8th grade online with science and social studies.
  • Michael’s average professional ice skating lessons are around $100-$125/hour.

“I may be small, but I have a big personality”

Michael Kislyuk