July 05, 2021
Hometown: Pikesville, Maryland, United States of America
Spirit Animal: Horse “I am free-spirited and it’s my Chinese zodiac sign!”
“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time to shine.” –Unknown
Ting began skating at the age of seven and recalls growing up as a very active child, trying a lot of different sports for fun.
“Before I started skating, my big thing was dancing, mostly ballet, but I vaguely remember a few tap classes. Then I did a summer ice skating camp at my local rink simply because my parents needed some place for my brother and I to be during the day while they worked. I made a lot of friends there and ended up doing every single series of it that summer. By the end of the whole thing, my friend gave me her old pair of skates because I was still wearing rentals at this point. They were around $200 which I though was crazy expensive at the time, so I told myself I couldn’t waste this gift and kept skating. Everything kind of snowballed from there and here I am.”
Currently competing at the senior level and representing the United States, she is training at the Patriot Ice Center in Delaware with longtime coach Natalya Linichuk and Priscilla Hill.
“I have been working with Natalya since I was 12, driving from Maryland to Pennsylvania to work with her when I could. She’s now my head coach along with Priscilla, who I’ve worked with from the age of 11-14.”
In addition to finishing in 5th place at US Nationals in 2019, Ting has also competed at Four Continents, the Junior Grand Prix and most notably captured the bronze medal at Junior Worlds in 2019.
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires you?
“My parents motivate me every day. They work so hard to support my skating and they drove me everywhere for years before I got my license. My brother has also been a big motivator recently as he has been getting more competitive with his squash. Seeing him train so hard has made me want to train harder too and it’s nice to be able to share an athlete bond between us.”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“My skating role models when I was younger were Yuna Kim and Michelle Kwan. Yuna, because she was the whole package and had these big, beautiful jumps. Michelle, because she had this unmatched presence on the ice and is just an absolute legend. As I got older, I added Carolina Kostner to my list of role models too. Now that I’m a lot taller and have these long limbs that I sometimes struggle to control, I appreciate what she is able to do with her skating so much – everything from her artistry to her jumps. Her longevity and love for the sport is also incredible and is something that I aspire to.”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
“My favorite element in skating is a rippon triple salchow. Sal is my favorite jump and when I do it with my arms over my head it feels so light and easy. Landing it just makes me feel so confident! I also love doing ina bauers because I can really melt into it and connect with the audience.”
“… double axel. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship. It really depends on the day with axel – the edge is so moody with me and has to be just right. It’s either really good or small and tight for me. I motivate myself to do it because I want to get to the point where I can start working on triple axels one day and to do that I need to love my double every day.
When it comes to off-ice training, Ting enjoys strength and core workouts but most notably dancing.
“Anything from contemporary to hip hop.”
“[If skating didn’t exist] I would be a dancer; either a ballerina, Broadway performer, or ballroom dancer because I love performing and expressing myself through movement.”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
“[No], I just put my air-pods in and blast some good music.”
“I’m thinking about not overthinking and just trusting my body to do what it’s trained to do. I like to focus on my breaths and immerse myself in the music.”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization?
“I’ve been visualizing since I was pretty young, although not very consistently. I like to do this the week leading up to a competition while playing my program music. Visualizing has also been extremely helpful as I’ve been recovering from injury and haven’t been physically able to do the amount of repetitions that I would like.”
Q: What was is your ultimate goal with skating?
“… to be [an] Olympic Champion (super ambitious, I know haha). My goal has since evolved. Now, I want to become the best skater that I can be, pushing my own boundaries both technically and artistically. I would identify as more of an artistic skater now and I want to show people that being a performer and connecting with the audience still matters in a sport where 11 year olds are doing quads. I still have my eyes on the Olympics because it’s a dream I’ve had for so long and can’t quite give up, but as long as I give skating my whole heart every day I know that even if I don’t reach that goal I will have still succeeded in trying.”
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career? How did you overcome it?
“I’m working on my comeback season after a rough year in a half of battling with injuries, anxiety/depression, disordered eating, and figuring out if skating was really what I wanted to keep doing. I was coming off of the best season of my career (earning bronze at Junior Worlds) when I got injured, recovered, and then got re-injured. When I was applying to college, while injured the second time, I was trying to decide if I wanted to continue competing. It was a very complicated time in my life and to top it off, it was also the year of COVID which was really isolating.”
“I talked through a lot of it with my sports psychologist and my best friend who was going through a similar thing. I also took a brief pause and did things differently to gain some perspective. Growing up I used to think that I was “superhuman” because of my seemingly boundless amounts of energy and how much jumping my body could do. So when I went through all of these struggles at once it was a very humanizing experience. [Now], I fully embrace my flaws and have learned to be okay with not being perfect no matter what my perfectionist brain tells me.”
“I have [also] been able to develop deeper connections through my vulnerabilities. It was certainly a journey to rediscover my love for skating and appreciation of what my body can do, but I’m here now with a really supportive team and training hard to get back in shape!”
“For other people going through a tough time in their life, what helped me was gaining an awareness and then understanding of what I’m experiencing and feeling. Also, talking about it with someone supportive has been key for me to go from just trying to survive to working on being my best self.”
Q: Have you learned any life lessons from skating?
“Skating has taught me to be focused on what’s really important to me. Nothing that was stressing me out outside of the rink mattered while I was on the ice because I knew that I needed to focus to get my job done. It taught me to take one jump at a time or one task at a time and I knew that no matter what was thrown at me in life, I was tough enough to deal with it because of skating.”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“I love how it feels to glide on an edge. Gliding is kind of crazy, actually. My first day back on the ice after being injured I stepped on the ice and was like “OMG, I’m moving but I’m not moving!” You forget how it feels.”
Q: What is your favourite skating memory?
“One of my favourite skating memories is having a pillow fight with my skating friends at the hotel we were staying at the night before a competition at Eastern Sectionals one year. It was quick and started randomly but it was my first experience at a skating competition that taught me that’s it’s okay to have fun at competitions!”
Apart from a good sit-com, “They’re my go-to stress reliever,” she also enjoys journaling, swimming, hiking, and visiting new places around town in her spare time.
Ting is currently looking forward to attending Middlebury College in the Spring of 2022. She will begin her college career next February with about 100 other students that have decided to take a gap semester before school.
“We start in February and graduate in February too, which is why in my Instagram bio I have Class of 2025.5. We’re affectionately called Febs on campus, while the students who start in the fall are called Regs."
Ting plans to major in International and Global Studies with a minor in something that is tbd.
“This unique February admission program is amazing for me because I get to finish this skating season before starting my first year of college so I can have the opportunity to experience each world without worrying about the other.”
After retiring from skating, Ting plans to branch out and start down a different career path. She wishes to branch out and explore a different field in the world.
“Right now, I’m interested in law school or something in film, but a lot could change during my college years. I’m just so excited to explore different areas of study!”
She also hopes to one day visit Japan’ “…because of the giant vending machines, fashion, and pop culture!”
Q: What is one piece of advice that you have for young skaters?
“Keep the line of communication between you and your body open and listen to what your body is telling you. You know your body best so take advantage of that and respond accordingly. This could be by pushing yourself a little more during your programs that day if you’re feeling good or it could be taking a step back from jumps and focusing more on spins and footwork. Develop that awareness physically and mentally too!”
Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
“To me, having a championship mindset means showing up and giving what you’re doing your whole heart and soul. It means showing strength and resilience, especially when things get tough, and being kind to yourself and to others. It means having good sportsmanship and clapping for your competitor and having the compassion in your heart to feel genuinely happy for a teammate even when you didn’t skate well. It means being disciplined and making sacrifices for your success. And most of all, it means believing in yourself and advocating for yourself when nobody else does.”
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