The Making of an Ice Princess


The Making of an Ice Princess

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My dream is to represent my country

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in the Olympics and Worlds and Europeans and things like that.

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She's the most self-motivated ten-year-old.

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There are, however, very few that actually do make it to the very top.

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Whether Lily can will be put to the test in three months' time

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in the UK's biggest competition of the year -

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the British Figure Skating Championships.

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Some of the little ones would potentially be the people

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we would be looking at for the squad for the Beijing Olympics.

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But Lily faces tough competition,

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including two 12-year-olds - Mia...

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I skate six days a week, morning and night.

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It means everything to me.

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..and Genevieve.

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I want to maybe win the Olympics.

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But having an ice princess in the family comes at a price.

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The money that goes out, that's spent on the ice-skating,

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it isn't cheap.

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It's about £1,000 a month.

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If you don't try to set it up from there,

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there's no point waiting up to there.

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Go.

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This year, I broke my shoulder.

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I've torn ligaments in my foot.

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I've broke my knee.

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I've had a lot of injuries.

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Oh, come on.

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SHE SOBS

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I don't personally know any other ten-year-olds

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that want to become who I want to become,

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because my dreams are very, very big.

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Lily. I've made you poached eggs on toast.

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Morning.

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Lily's a morning person, so she wakes up sprightly every morning.

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This is our normal routine.

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We just start a few hours earlier than everybody else.

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Every day of the week begins for ten-year-old Lily Matthias

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by getting her mother, Lyndsey, to drive her from an hour

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from their home in Blackpool

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to the ice rink in Blackburn where she trains.

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It does feel like it's...two o'clock instead of five o'clock.

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There's just nobody around.

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I always feel like sleeping because it's so dark.

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If you sleep now, you're going to miss the sunrise.

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It's the exciting part of the journey.

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In skating, you have to start early.

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It's the only time you get the ice quiet for practice.

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It is quite unique that I have self-motivation

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to wake up at half four in the morning and go to the rink.

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I've always wanted to be a skater,

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since I was about three,

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but my mum didn't let me cos she thought I was a bit too young!

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For her seventh birthday, we bought her an ice-skating lesson.

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It was only ever going to be just a half-an-hour lesson.

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At eight, she'd already decided this was what she was wanting to do.

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She wanted to be the best that she could be,

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she wanted to be British champion and then she wanted to do Europeans

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and Worlds, and ultimately, of course, would be the Olympics.

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She makes all the decisions.

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She kind of dictates how much she wants to train.

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Everything is driven by her.

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I don't know where it comes from, just something within her.

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It's not genetic, it is just Lily.

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OK, let's try it one more time.

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I really liked the fact that when you did the mohawk,

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there was a really strong push there before you went into it, OK?

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As you stepped forward...

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The reason Lily and her mum decided to come to the ice rink in Blackburn

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is so she can be trained by former Olympic competitor Kathryn Hudson.

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She's super talented.

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You ask her to jump, she wants to do it twice.

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Tell her that it's time to get off, she wants to stay on longer.

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She's brilliant.

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Kathryn has been training Lily now for two years.

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Many of the girls she's competing with

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have literally grown up on skates.

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They've kind of started as toddlers and gone through,

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or even started at five and six.

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She's got a lot of years of just trying to catch up.

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The more you train everything this speed,

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the more confidence you're going to have come the competition to do it,

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because it's more normal, isn't it?

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She's only been skating for two years,

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so at the minute we're very much focusing

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on really getting her to have a little bit of competition practice.

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OK, so as you finish that spin, OK, finish it and grow.

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And THEN come round.

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That's it.

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There are very few that actually do make it to the very top,

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but one of the main things you need is motivation and drive,

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and she's got it in bucket-loads.

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Well, to be honest, it's pretty much completely changed.

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It's just all now about... the skating.

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Everything else sort of takes a back seat.

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It's all about the skating, that's all they ever talk about.

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The score's come up.

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Yeah. Ten. Oh, my gosh.

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-12.64 just for a jump.

-For one jump.

-For one jump.

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We're not planning on any holidays for a start, no family holidays.

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We don't go on family days out.

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Everything is sort of shelved, regardless of any adverse effects

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it might have on us as a family, in terms of money and time it takes.

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It really doesn't matter, you know.

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My favourite woman figure skater is Gracie Gold.

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She's just amazing. She's so beautiful.

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When she skates, she's really elegant,

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and all of her jumps land really light and beautiful.

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It's a great name, that, for a skater, isn't it?

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Gracie Gold.

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When did Gracie start skating, Lils?

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When she was eight. Like me.

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-Same as you?

-Really, same?

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So there's absolutely no reason why you can't catch up.

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You can see she didn't start when she was three.

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She just looks like a bigger version of you!

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CHUCKLING

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COMMENTATOR: 'More mature side of Gracie Gold.

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'I think that suits her very well.'

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I'd love to be as good as Gracie Gold. That is my main dream.

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If Lily's ever going to get to the Olympics,

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she'll have to prove herself against this skater -

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12-year-old Genevieve Somerville,

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already number one in the under-15s advanced novice category.

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The turn needs to be with speed.

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-What?

-Do it again.

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Driven by her mother, Genevieve's been training since she was three.

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I want to see tight knees, heels coming off the floor first.

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This is the painful bit.

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Giving Genevieve another advantage

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is that she's trained three times a week in this gym

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by a national gymnast champion from Bulgaria.

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Her mum, Madlen.

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Genevieve, shoulders back. If you're going to be sitting, sit up.

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Higher, higher, higher.

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I've been coming to gym since I was three,

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cos I remember being in one of them baby carriers

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on the bench.

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I come three times a week.

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It is difficult, being a coach and a mum at the same time,

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because I know when we go to the rink,

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she wants me to praise her a lot more.

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I tend to focus a lot more on her mistakes and what needs improving.

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I know she wants a lot more of the...me to be a mum,

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a lot more to say, "Well done," and, "You did well," which I try to.

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We've got an understanding that when there's something

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that needs correcting, I've got to tell her as well.

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Genevieve, faster. Knee in tighter, it's too slow.

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We fall out sometimes...

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if I don't do what I'm told.

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No, you didn't go up.

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The fact that she gets more time to practise her off-ice jumps

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gives her an added advantage.

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I'd just like her to fully rotate it and not fall.

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Hold. OK, now... Do the axel again.

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Think about that quality on the skating.

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On the ice, Genevieve's mum is just as determined

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to maximise her daughter's chances.

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She spends £600 a month to have her trained at £30 an hour

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by former British champion and elite coach David Hartley.

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So the British Championships are in 13 weeks.

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So what I'd like to do to start off with

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is let's look at how we skate across the ice.

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Let's look at the speed, let's look at the power.

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Hold. Hold, hold.

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And step, and present.

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OK, that was...

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..awful!

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OK, from the landing position here, let's look at your mum, for example.

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So, from this position, we step, give her a little smile.

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Genevieve's one of the rising stars in British skating.

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She's got one of the best laybacks in the country,

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and she has that hunger for success.

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Genevieve should compete in the under-12 category,

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but to really push her on, mum Madlen

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has her competing in the under-15s.

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Genevieve does put a lot of pressure on herself,

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but I don't think that necessarily comes from her.

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Honestly speaking, I think

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she does get put under a lot of pressure from her mum.

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Sometimes she takes on the role of coach,

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especially when she's practising.

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I think you've got to find that fine balance where, you know,

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you're a parent, you bring the skaters to the rink,

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that's your job.

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If you start to kind of cross over into coaching territory,

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then the relationship does become quite strained.

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And present.

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Mum, can you give us a thumbs-up? Were you happy with that?

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So-so? OK.

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Three, two, one, go!

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Good!

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Every day, Lily trains for six hours at this ice rink in Blackburn.

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On your right foot.

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Add an hour to get there and an hour to get home,

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and her skating takes up as much time as school.

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Except in her case, it doesn't. Something had to give.

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When I was at school, I didn't enjoy it,

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because some of the children didn't understand why I was leaving early

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or...going in late.

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I did get picked on a lot when I was there.

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Being picked on, I felt really, really upset, sad every day.

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I was crying every time I went into school. I didn't want to be there.

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When I was in lessons, I was bored. It just really didn't fit with me.

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Lily had said that she had thought about home-schooling

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and whether it would be something that we would consider.

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What am I? Key stage two or three?

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-Key stage...two, I believe.

-OK.

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What are you up to?

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I'm doing solids, liquids and gases. Shall I do that one first?

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Yes, yeah.

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Being home-schooled is really good, cos then I can learn things

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that I love to learn about and do what I want to learn about.

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That's all we need, then, liquid nitrogen!

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Put that in the bath, you could skate on it.

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My mum is not a tough teacher at all.

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I kind of let her lead how we do it. Lily chooses basically which...

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-Yeah, you said...

-..topics we do.

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What's the next column?

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-Er...hundreds.

-Fabulous.

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Lily's parents now pay two hours a week for a maths and English tutor.

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Apart from that, it's mostly down to Mum.

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I think science and geography is the easiest one,

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because we live by the sea, which is handy.

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So we can go down to the beach.

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The estuary is just over the back of us, so we get to do a lot

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more practical that you would get to do in a classroom.

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It's a cockle.

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She actually picks up probably a lot more

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because she's out seeing it all the time.

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It's a bit disgusting, to be honest.

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People are really surprised that she's kept up-to-date with

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the rest of her peers.

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I think that's because it's on a one-to-one basis

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and the tutor and we can go at Lily's pace.

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Lily has a 15-year-old brother, Josh, who attends the local school.

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In my opinion, school is really fun for me,

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so I'd never really want to be home-schooled.

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I got invited to go to a private school, but I turned it down,

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cos I didn't want to be with people I didn't know.

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I'm happy I made this decision, cos obviously if I did go to private

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school, Lil probably wouldn't be able to ice-skate or anything.

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We couldn't have done Joshua at a private school

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and Lily doing the skating at the level she's at.

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I would have been absolutely stuffed.

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THEY LAUGH

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You want them both to have everything.

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We were just fortunate, really,

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that we've got a very talented skater in the family,

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and we've got a lad who's prepared to forgo certain things

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but not be bothered about it.

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We kind of have to spend a lot of money on Lily, but it's not like

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they don't spend any money on me or don't pay any attention to me.

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Obviously I get a new pair of football boots every season.

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I would rather see Lil do well in the competition

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than go to Tenerife for a week.

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-Are you nearly done?

-Mm-hm!

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What time do you need to be there tomorrow morning?

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Erm, about six.

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'We did give her free rein of the decisions

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'and we just guide her,

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'because, obviously, we are the adults,

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'we try to do the right thing by her

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'but she leads everything.'

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-Tired?

-Yes, very!

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Goodnight, then.

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'She will get one shot at this ice-skating,

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'she can pick education up any time.

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'Skating is...it's now or never,

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'get this opportunity to train to hopefully realise her dream.'

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But Lily has her sacrifices to make too.

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This is 7pm every night in the Matthias household.

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I'm really cold.

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200 miles north,

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12-year-old Mia Gallagher is another rival who started early.

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She's been on the ice since she was five

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and her mum even moved their home

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so that they'd be just beside the ice rink.

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It's basically coming home from school,

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getting ready and going to the ice.

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Then coming back, going to bed, get school in the morning

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and then skating again.

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And it's basically skating all the time, but I love to do it.

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Five times a week, Mia trains with yet another ice champion,

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the Scottish one, Lorraine Allison.

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OK, right, on the barrier, if you do me your spiral kicks.

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OK? So we're onto your dynamic ballistic stuff, so right through.

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No, no, control that body.

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Keep it down.

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But there's been a downside to Mia starting so young.

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'Mia's now been skating six years

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'and she's had an accident at least once, if not twice,

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'three times a year.'

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17 x-rays, erm, throughout her skating career.

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This year, I broke my shoulder.

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I've torn ligaments in my foot.

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I've broke my knee.

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I've broke my wrist twice.

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I've had a lot of injuries.

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An injury last year prevented Mia taking part, for the first time,

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in the British Championships.

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So throughout this year that's been the big goal.

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Then three months ago her worst injury yet put that in jeopardy.

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I was in the cast for... was it three weeks?

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Three weeks.

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Like, I know sometimes you're, like, scared that you're going to

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hurt yourself again, but going forward

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I think we have to be confident.

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If you start thinking, you know,

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"I'm going to hurt myself, I'm going to fall,"

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the chances are it will be worse for you.

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'So you need to just relax and just go for it.'

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Set-up and go straight away, go now, go now.

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OK, so what is it about that that knocks it off for you?

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I don't know.

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She's on double jumps just now.

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She's got one double-double combination in her programme

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and that's the one we're having issues with.

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I would say probably 70% just now she's falling.

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And this is the problem and this is where she's unconfident.

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The last injury was probably one of the most severe.

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And we were faced with kind of devastating news that,

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you know, Mia's skating career might be on hold or, even worse,

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she may not be able to skate at all.

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I just couldn't imagine having to stop because of injury.

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I just wanted to get back so badly.

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My only ever concern is that if she gets knocked to the head,

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that's probably my worst fear.

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Sometimes you start to think about long-term,

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how it'll affect their bones, especially with Mia having

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so many injuries, you know, how that will affect them long-term.

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Sometimes I look back and think, "Would I do that again?"

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I think, if I'm being perfectly honest,

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if I knew what I was signing up for, probably not.

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Today's only the sixth competition of Lily's skating career.

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It's the last warm-up event ahead of the British Championships

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in a month's time.

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I've been a bit nervous this week about all the other girls

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being more experienced than me and I feel a bit like...

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I'm the newbie on the block.

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The biggest issue is that she trains obviously five days a week

0:20:260:20:31

and generally she's spot-on every single day.

0:20:310:20:34

And then, because of the lack of competition experience

0:20:340:20:37

that she's had, she kind of comes to the day and pulls back

0:20:370:20:42

and just goes a bit careful and that then has repercussions,

0:20:420:20:45

because she gets downgraded on some of her jumps and stuff

0:20:450:20:49

like that, which is frustrating, because she can do them all.

0:20:490:20:52

The best under-12s from all over the country are here.

0:20:560:20:59

Including Mia.

0:21:010:21:03

-Try again.

-I'm so clumsy.

0:21:030:21:06

Obviously Mia's been three months behind with her training.

0:21:070:21:10

We're not quite where we should be, however we're not far away.

0:21:100:21:15

From the injury, she's definitely been working hard to try and get back up there

0:21:150:21:19

amongst the girls that she's competing against.

0:21:190:21:21

I think she's quite confident.

0:21:210:21:23

She seems to be landing her jumps, which is always a good sign.

0:21:230:21:27

Today, my aim is to go on and get a new personal best.

0:21:270:21:31

And to skate clean.

0:21:310:21:32

But I can't imagine that she's not going to feel nervous

0:21:360:21:40

because it's all new and...

0:21:400:21:44

if she can just get a handle on the nerves a bit

0:21:440:21:46

and just get the best out that she can, I think she'll do OK.

0:21:460:21:49

If she doesn't do better today than she's done previously,

0:21:490:21:52

I think she'll be really upset because she's worked so hard.

0:21:520:21:56

The Salchow was lovely, yeah.

0:22:010:22:03

Yeah, you just pulled that loop around a little bit.

0:22:030:22:05

Got a little bit onto the back of the skate. OK?

0:22:050:22:08

Are you struggling to fit it in? Yeah.

0:22:080:22:11

So, let's go through it, all right? Don't worry.

0:22:110:22:14

So we're starting...

0:22:140:22:16

'We need to be getting out and doing as many competitions

0:22:160:22:18

'as we possibly can,

0:22:180:22:19

'just simply to practise that side of things, cos you can't,

0:22:190:22:22

'no matter how many simulations you do at home,'

0:22:220:22:25

you cannot replicate that feeling

0:22:250:22:27

at all without getting there in a competition.

0:22:270:22:29

-So, how are you feeling?

-Good.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:22:400:22:45

-Mm, a bit nervous.

-Yeah?

0:22:450:22:47

'It is one of my favourite bits, like, getting all sparkled up.

0:22:530:22:57

'But especially the make-up and wearing my pink dresses.'

0:22:570:23:00

It's like every little girl's idea of heaven, isn't it?

0:23:020:23:05

Having someone do your make-up and put glitter all over you.

0:23:050:23:09

We're ready to start now.

0:23:110:23:12

And all the other girls, as you kind of look around the ring,

0:23:150:23:18

they're all jumping around and really...

0:23:180:23:20

as where she's really quiet,

0:23:200:23:22

which is what stresses me out, because I just think,

0:23:220:23:26

"Normal Lily's disappeared."

0:23:260:23:27

I'm just trying to do an Oscar-winning performance

0:23:290:23:31

of calmness at the moment around Lily

0:23:310:23:33

but inside I'm actually dying!

0:23:330:23:35

It's just really quite stressful and I feel really nervous.

0:23:350:23:40

I'll go and sit up there, I might watch like that.

0:23:400:23:43

SHE LAUGHS

0:23:430:23:45

In a near-empty stadium, 13 girls compete in their category.

0:23:450:23:50

Each has to include a maximum of four jumps

0:23:500:23:52

and two spins in their two and a half minutes on the ice.

0:23:520:23:55

Knock 'em dead, all right?

0:24:010:24:02

Go and show us what you do every day at that rink.

0:24:020:24:04

-Yeah.

-All right? You can do this.

0:24:040:24:06

-TANNOY:

-Next we've got Lily Matthias.

0:24:060:24:10

APPLAUSE

0:24:100:24:11

MUSIC: Forrest Gump Suite by Alan Silvestri

0:24:190:24:26

I've got the shakes.

0:25:160:25:18

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:25:470:25:48

-That was probably...

-Total Lily.

-..the best I've seen her skate, I think.

-Lovely.

0:25:500:25:54

Lily has had a clean skate

0:25:540:25:56

but Mia has the advantage of 30 competitions like this one.

0:25:560:26:00

She looks confident enough.

0:26:010:26:03

I think anything above 30, I think, would definitely put

0:26:030:26:07

a smile on Mia's face today.

0:26:070:26:09

-TANNOY:

-..Mia Gallagher.

0:26:090:26:11

APPLAUSE

0:26:110:26:15

LATIN INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC PLAYS

0:26:180:26:21

APPLAUSE

0:27:040:27:07

Oh, she's upset.

0:27:110:27:14

-What's wrong?

-MIA CRIES

0:27:140:27:16

You did all right!

0:27:160:27:18

What's happened? What's wrong?

0:27:180:27:20

Mia, it's absolutely fine.

0:27:210:27:23

That was a really good skate.

0:27:230:27:25

A clean skate.

0:27:250:27:27

Do you want a wee drink, honey? Very proud.

0:27:270:27:29

-TANNOY:

-'..score, 24.53.'

0:27:310:27:34

Oh, come on.

0:27:350:27:37

After her fall, Mia finds herself in tenth place.

0:27:370:27:41

Listen, it is what it is, Mia.

0:27:410:27:44

Just work harder for the next one and it's a practice run.

0:27:440:27:47

-TANNOY:

-'..Lily Matthias,

0:27:490:27:51

'total score, 27.82.'

0:27:510:27:55

Yay!

0:27:550:27:56

Lily's score puts her in fourth place.

0:27:590:28:02

Excellent. PB.

0:28:020:28:04

That's more like it, isn't it?

0:28:040:28:06

Yeah, she did brilliant. Great practice for the British.

0:28:080:28:13

It's another 6am start for 12-year-old Genevieve.

0:28:230:28:26

But this morning is different.

0:28:260:28:29

'Gold medallist,

0:28:290:28:30

-'Robin Cousins of Great Britain.'

-CHEERING

0:28:300:28:33

Good morning.

0:28:370:28:39

Former Olympic and world champion Robin Cousins

0:28:390:28:42

is one of the British squad selectors for Beijing in 2022.

0:28:420:28:46

He's identified a rising star.

0:28:460:28:49

She has a nice snap.

0:28:490:28:51

I like that a lot.

0:28:510:28:52

Even timing.

0:28:520:28:54

Even timing. Even timing.

0:28:540:28:57

Down. What are your hands doing?

0:28:570:28:59

Do you know that you land and you do that?

0:29:010:29:03

Feel that...

0:29:050:29:07

tension. Is your hand supposed to be like that when you land jumps?

0:29:070:29:11

Put my hand where it's supposed to be.

0:29:110:29:13

See how tight that is, that's what yours looked like. Fix it.

0:29:140:29:18

No claws. No claws.

0:29:220:29:25

Go.

0:29:270:29:28

You're now looking at the talent pathway

0:29:300:29:31

to start at around eight, nine, ten.

0:29:310:29:34

So it's not a question of, "She's sweet," or, "Oh, he's cute,

0:29:340:29:38

"they could, they really..." No.

0:29:380:29:40

Are they any good? Do they have what it takes?

0:29:400:29:43

'Great little body.

0:29:430:29:45

'Perfect skater body.

0:29:450:29:46

'She can rotate, she has a good feeling for the skating.

0:29:460:29:50

'Basic skills need a lot of work but that can be fixed.

0:29:500:29:54

'Again, it's a question of how badly do you want it

0:29:540:29:57

'versus how badly do they actually want it.

0:29:570:29:59

'And how hard are they willing to work to do it.'

0:29:590:30:02

OK.

0:30:020:30:04

So, I'm watching you and I can see that you have the ability

0:30:040:30:08

and I can see you do it, but I'm seeing tentative,

0:30:080:30:14

not really sure if I should just do it all or...

0:30:140:30:18

-TIMID VOICE:

-..do nothing.

0:30:180:30:21

So, when you compete, you need to stop being little mousy girl

0:30:210:30:26

and sweet and lovely,

0:30:260:30:28

and start going, "I've got it!" Does that make sense? Yes?

0:30:280:30:32

No, no, no, no. No nodding. No smiling. Does it make sense?

0:30:320:30:35

-Yeah.

-Yes. Right, OK.

0:30:350:30:37

She does have potential.

0:30:370:30:39

I think one of the important things, for me,

0:30:390:30:42

is that she needs to come out of her shell a little bit.

0:30:420:30:44

I didn't compete because I wanted to compete against people,

0:30:440:30:48

I wanted to show off.

0:30:480:30:49

MUSIC PLAYS

0:30:490:30:51

Beautiful triple Salchow!

0:30:540:30:56

I wanted everybody to watch.

0:31:010:31:03

I don't care if it was the cleaning lady

0:31:030:31:05

or 5,000 people in an arena, this was my chance to show off.

0:31:050:31:09

She is so timid and so sweet and so shy.

0:31:090:31:12

Olympic champions aren't made of that,

0:31:120:31:15

but they are made of the material that she has within her.

0:31:150:31:18

YOU have to be the one that people go...

0:31:180:31:21

Sometimes we... You can't help who you watch,

0:31:230:31:26

and it's not because they're the best,

0:31:260:31:28

it's because they have the passion,

0:31:280:31:30

and they're using that passion to perform.

0:31:300:31:32

That's their gift.

0:31:320:31:34

You have to figure out how to make that work for you.

0:31:340:31:37

Do you believe you can do it? Yes?

0:31:370:31:40

I shall be watching at the championships,

0:31:400:31:43

so you'd better make sure

0:31:430:31:46

it's a performance you want to talk about.

0:31:460:31:48

Because we'll be talking about you.

0:31:480:31:50

All right?

0:31:500:31:52

Good girl.

0:31:520:31:54

Ahead of the championships,

0:31:560:31:58

Lily's persuaded Mum she must have new boots.

0:31:580:32:01

-New ones?

-Mm-hm.

0:32:010:32:03

Let's get them done, then.

0:32:030:32:04

Yeah.

0:32:060:32:08

Thanks, boss.

0:32:080:32:09

What did you pay for these?

0:32:090:32:11

It was £290.

0:32:110:32:14

Just the boots.

0:32:140:32:15

And the blades are about... I think the blades were 135, I think.

0:32:150:32:19

These are really comfy, they're like slippers.

0:32:210:32:24

Her last boots have lasted a year, but if her feet grow quicker,

0:32:280:32:32

then, obviously, we'll have to buy boots sooner.

0:32:320:32:35

My other skates were too small before, so to help my toes

0:32:350:32:39

stop hurting and my feet stop hurting, I've got new skates now,

0:32:390:32:44

which is really good.

0:32:440:32:46

-Hello?

-Hi.

-Hiya.

0:32:480:32:51

A few years ago,

0:32:510:32:53

Lily's dad Wayne started his own business as a used car dealer.

0:32:530:32:57

It's been going well,

0:32:570:32:58

but the cost of Lily's skating is now £1,000 a month.

0:32:580:33:02

So, that's going out, and that's how much is coming in, then?

0:33:020:33:05

Pretty much, yeah.

0:33:050:33:06

-It's not changed much.

-No.

0:33:060:33:08

It's been hard. It really has.

0:33:080:33:11

'It is just by the grace of God at the minute,

0:33:110:33:13

'sailing very, very close to the wind.

0:33:130:33:16

'I've got credit cards maxed out and all sorts of stuff,

0:33:160:33:19

'just to sustain the level that we're at. It is really expensive

0:33:190:33:23

'and, in order for the skating not to be affected,

0:33:230:33:27

'I've, you know, got into debt.'

0:33:270:33:32

Lily's parents keep the money pressures away from her,

0:33:320:33:35

but more and more, she realises how tight things are becoming.

0:33:350:33:40

That's where I put my cars that I've bought, who I sold it to...

0:33:400:33:43

-Gosh. Yeah.

-..how much I sold it for.

-Yeah.

0:33:430:33:46

Gross profit. And then you take 20% off that, and the rest is ours.

0:33:460:33:50

-That's rubbish.

-Innit?

0:33:500:33:52

So that leaves us with £64,

0:33:520:33:56

which will get you halfway to the rink.

0:33:560:33:59

HE LAUGHS

0:33:590:34:02

'Everybody, meaning my mum, my brother and my dad,

0:34:020:34:06

'are making big sacrifices for my skating,

0:34:060:34:09

'and I'm really grateful, obviously.

0:34:090:34:11

'There's lots of things that they have to sacrifice,

0:34:110:34:15

'like going out for dinner, we can't go on holidays,

0:34:150:34:19

'because it's very expensive,'

0:34:190:34:22

and there's lots of money in skating, that's all I know,

0:34:220:34:26

because my mum and dad don't talk to me about money.

0:34:260:34:29

It's all Lily. It's Lily's dreams, Lily's goals.

0:34:290:34:33

She works so hard and she's so committed

0:34:330:34:37

and she's got such a great work ethic that it would be wrong of us

0:34:370:34:41

-not to support her to the very best that we can.

-WAYNE:

-Hmm.

0:34:410:34:45

The mounting money worries mean

0:34:450:34:47

Wayne and Lyndsey are now having to make choices.

0:34:470:34:50

So, all the dresses are here.

0:34:500:34:52

We're just going to have a look through them

0:34:520:34:54

and see what you're going to use again this season,

0:34:540:34:57

and, if there's anything we've got that we can sell, or anything.

0:34:570:35:01

Definitely want to keep that.

0:35:010:35:03

-You want me to keep it?

-Yes.

-OK.

-It's got good memories.

0:35:030:35:07

-That one's a maybe. Maybe keep it.

-That's a maybe?

0:35:070:35:10

Probably. It's quite stretchy.

0:35:100:35:12

-So...

-Is that one to sell?

0:35:120:35:15

LILY GASPS

0:35:150:35:17

-How can I sell that?! Oh, my God!

-LAUGHTER

0:35:170:35:19

How much do you think we'll be able to sell this one for?

0:35:190:35:23

Although they cost upwards of £250 to make, when you resell them,

0:35:230:35:27

-you only actually get probably less than £100 for it.

-Yeah.

-Whoa.

0:35:270:35:32

But, you know, she has had quite a bit of use out of this one,

0:35:320:35:35

which is nice.

0:35:350:35:37

But it's at a level that a lot of people, I'm sure, would have to say,

0:35:370:35:41

"No, you can't do the ice-skating, you can't do it as much."

0:35:410:35:44

I'm sort of at a limit. I can't go beyond the limit that we're at.

0:35:440:35:50

Basically, you could buy a house with what it's going to cost

0:35:500:35:54

to get Lily probably through the next seven years to the Olympics,

0:35:540:35:58

-so we know that...

-We're going to have to

0:35:580:36:01

-get a sponsor on board.

-We have to do something, because, otherwise,

0:36:010:36:04

-we're going to miss out on so many opportunities.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:36:040:36:08

I never, ever want to give up skating - ever -

0:36:080:36:12

no matter what the sacrifices are.

0:36:120:36:15

In Glasgow, Mia Gallagher knows, last time out,

0:36:270:36:31

she gave her worst-ever performance in a competition.

0:36:310:36:34

Lorraine, her trainer, now has two weeks left

0:36:340:36:38

before the British Championships to pull Mia round.

0:36:380:36:41

Half the time, she's wanting to go about just dancing

0:36:450:36:48

and showing off, when I'm like, "No, wait a wee minute.

0:36:480:36:50

"There's jumps in there that have to be done

0:36:500:36:53

"and landings that have to be held,"

0:36:530:36:55

but Mia's like, "Well, I love my music and I'm going to just

0:36:550:36:58

"show this off, so I don't care about the rest."

0:36:580:37:00

And go... Out. And out! And out!

0:37:000:37:04

I think Mia certainly enjoys the choreography

0:37:040:37:07

side of the programmes, loves performing, especially

0:37:070:37:11

when there's a judging panel there, there's cameras,

0:37:110:37:14

and if there's a big audience as well.

0:37:140:37:16

Here, do you feel as though you held that round enough?

0:37:160:37:19

-No.

-No.

0:37:190:37:21

So this shoulder then started falling out the circle, off axis,

0:37:210:37:24

duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. Bump.

0:37:240:37:27

Mia's performance score is almost double her technical.

0:37:280:37:33

I think, if she can get the technical score up,

0:37:330:37:36

I would say she could probably be in the top five.

0:37:360:37:39

Yeah. But that's not easy. That is not easy.

0:37:390:37:42

OK?

0:37:440:37:45

So, how did that feel to you? Yeah. You can feel it straightaway,

0:37:450:37:49

Because you're going to get a sore one down this side of your body.

0:37:490:37:53

After an hour's training, Mia still has a school day ahead,

0:37:540:37:59

then she's back for another two-hour session on the ice

0:37:590:38:01

in the evening.

0:38:010:38:03

Me and Claire get to go home and go to our bed

0:38:030:38:06

and rest during the day.

0:38:060:38:07

Mia has to go to school and then come back in at night.

0:38:070:38:10

-She's got hit hard in comparison to us.

-Yeah.

0:38:100:38:13

Like, whenever my friends have parties, I don't normally

0:38:130:38:16

go to them, because I'm in here training at night,

0:38:160:38:19

but I like skating better.

0:38:190:38:21

Lily's final training sessions

0:38:340:38:36

before the British Championships haven't been going well.

0:38:360:38:39

SHE GASPS

0:38:400:38:42

-How did it feel?

-Not good.

-You didn't feel good? No?

0:38:420:38:47

-No.

-It wasn't quite over the hip.

0:38:470:38:49

-I hate it so much. It makes me want to cry, that spin.

-Why?

0:38:490:38:54

-Cos it's horrible to me. It doesn't like me.

-It gets you a lot of points

0:38:540:38:59

-if you get it right.

-I know, but it doesn't like me.

0:38:590:39:02

OK.

0:39:050:39:06

Trainer Kathryn thinks Lily's in danger of losing the momentum

0:39:060:39:10

she's built up.

0:39:100:39:12

Are you aware that most of the other skaters have been

0:39:120:39:15

-competing for years and years and years?

-Yeah.

0:39:150:39:18

Most of them have been skating since they were three or four.

0:39:180:39:21

Why does that bother you?

0:39:210:39:23

-Because no-one else knows that.

-No...

0:39:260:39:29

I just feel really...

0:39:290:39:31

..down, really.

0:39:320:39:34

Sometimes, I do think, you know, I don't want her to feel like this.

0:39:340:39:39

No parent wants their child to feel so worried about something,

0:39:390:39:42

and I do think, you know, are we doing the right thing?

0:39:420:39:45

Are we making the right decisions?

0:39:450:39:48

That's my baby, and my baby's bruised, so it can be difficult.

0:39:520:39:57

LILY SOBS

0:39:570:39:59

I think it's all been a bit too stressful, hasn't it?

0:40:040:40:08

'I do question, sometimes, if we're doing the right thing

0:40:080:40:11

'when she's so upset.'

0:40:110:40:13

Another country, same mum.

0:40:280:40:31

TRANSLATION:

0:40:310:40:33

If you don't try to set it up from there,

0:40:390:40:41

there's no point waiting up to there. Go.

0:40:410:40:45

To sharpen Genevieve for the British Championships, her mum has

0:40:480:40:52

entered her for a competition in her home country, Bulgaria.

0:40:520:40:56

Genevieve's the only UK skater here,

0:40:560:40:59

but there's 21 Russian and East European girls.

0:40:590:41:03

Genevieve and her Bulgarian friend Dara quickly spot the top skater -

0:41:070:41:11

a 13-year-old from Russia, Elizaveta Nugumanova.

0:41:110:41:16

-Was that a triple?

-Yeah.

0:41:160:41:18

-I think it was a triple toe.

-Wow. Whoa, whoa.

0:41:180:41:22

-She has really soft hands.

-Yeah.

0:41:220:41:25

-Really good. Russians are really good.

-Yeah.

0:41:250:41:30

She rotates really fast.

0:41:300:41:32

She does.

0:41:320:41:34

She really does.

0:41:340:41:36

-Yeah, I think she'll grab a medal.

-Yeah.

0:41:360:41:39

'Basically, the environment is a lot more competitive, it's harsh,

0:41:420:41:47

'so she needs to get used to this, because it will prepare her better'

0:41:470:41:51

for the future, and it's a lot more intense,

0:41:510:41:54

in terms of the training, so it's probably a lot more tiring.

0:41:540:41:58

HE SPEAKS IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE

0:41:580:42:01

Genevieve's mum has even hired a former Russian national champion

0:42:010:42:05

to ensure her daughter knows the level she has to achieve.

0:42:050:42:09

She needs a little bit more speed.

0:42:110:42:14

And she needs another... triple jumps.

0:42:150:42:20

A very good girl from Russia, she has all triples.

0:42:200:42:23

I think she will be first, but this is sport and this is ice

0:42:230:42:29

and anything can happen.

0:42:290:42:31

Even Genevieve's Bulgarian grannies

0:42:370:42:40

have been roped in by her mum to give her support.

0:42:400:42:43

The ambition today is for a score over 30.

0:42:540:42:58

-PA:

-Genevieve Somerville.

0:42:590:43:01

THEY CHEER

0:43:010:43:04

THEY SHOUT ENCOURAGEMENT

0:43:040:43:06

MUSIC PLAYS

0:43:100:43:13

APPLAUSE

0:43:200:43:21

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:43:450:43:48

Woo! Woo!

0:43:480:43:51

-PA:

-Genevieve Somerville.

0:43:510:43:53

'She's not happy, her mum is not happy.'

0:43:530:43:56

She is upset, because she don't jump properly.

0:43:560:44:01

It's a lot of pressure.

0:44:010:44:04

Too much for her.

0:44:040:44:05

GENEVIEVE SOBS

0:44:070:44:09

Genevieve ended up 10th, with 28 points.

0:44:190:44:23

As predicted, the Russian favourite was first, with 49 points.

0:44:250:44:30

I'm feeling gutted for Genevieve.

0:44:320:44:34

Our expectations were to get a score in the 30s.

0:44:340:44:38

It's all experience.

0:44:380:44:40

She's got to learn that there is disappointment

0:44:400:44:43

as well as success, and she is going to have to get stronger.

0:44:430:44:47

There's a week to the British Championships,

0:44:510:44:54

and Lily's not in a good place.

0:44:540:44:56

I felt quite down and I just thought to myself, "Why am I so nervous?"

0:44:560:45:02

It's not a nice feeling at all.

0:45:040:45:06

DOORBELL RINGS

0:45:090:45:11

Hello.

0:45:140:45:16

Lily's coach thinks she needs a boost. She's planned a surprise.

0:45:160:45:22

-I actually don't know.

-Who would be the most incredible person to get

0:45:220:45:26

-a phone call from? Come on, you must have...

-Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:45:260:45:30

-Gracie.

-Yep.

0:45:300:45:32

-Really?

-Yes.

0:45:340:45:37

THEY LAUGH

0:45:410:45:42

LILY LAUGHS

0:45:490:45:52

Hi, how are you? With your accent, you're just cute as a button.

0:45:520:45:57

-Thank you.

-Oh, my gosh!

0:45:570:45:59

-I had no idea I was going to speak to you, it's amazing.

-It's so fun!

0:45:590:46:04

What would you like to ask Gracie?

0:46:060:46:08

How do you not get so nervous? What makes you so confident?

0:46:080:46:13

I didn't always know how to be confident, cos I'd always felt

0:46:130:46:17

so fragile. I had to learn to love the competition aspect of it.

0:46:170:46:23

It wasn't my favourite thing.

0:46:230:46:25

Are you ever worried about the other competitors?

0:46:250:46:28

Yeah, especially at my level, they really are

0:46:280:46:31

-the best skaters in the world.

-Yeah!

-That's nerve-racking.

0:46:310:46:35

I try not to think about it, because it doesn't change

0:46:350:46:38

-what I have to do when I skate.

-Mm-hm.

0:46:380:46:40

Because, a little bird told me, you have a competition coming up.

0:46:400:46:43

-Yes.

-Which is why we're all here.

0:46:430:46:45

Yes, I need to build up my confidence

0:46:450:46:48

and you are definitely the person to talk to.

0:46:480:46:51

You have to work on showing up and showing off.

0:46:510:46:55

Yeah. Thank you so much for speaking to me, Gracie.

0:46:550:46:59

It's meant a lot, a lot to me.

0:46:590:47:01

-Best of luck.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

-And just really have fun.

-Bye!

0:47:010:47:05

Oh!

0:47:080:47:10

LAUGHTER

0:47:120:47:14

-Selfie!

-Selfie.

0:47:140:47:16

It's the day of

0:47:270:47:28

the British Junior Skating Championships

0:47:280:47:30

and, if Lily Matthias ever gets to the 2022 Olympics, she might

0:47:300:47:35

look back to this competition as where it all really started.

0:47:350:47:39

She knows Robin Cousins is here weighing her up

0:47:390:47:42

as well as her rivals Mia and Genevieve.

0:47:420:47:46

Some of the little ones would potentially be the people we'd

0:47:550:47:59

be looking at for the squad for the Beijing Olympics.

0:47:590:48:02

We need to pick out our elite.

0:48:030:48:04

Hey, Lils. Lils.

0:48:070:48:09

On the bits that you're doing, sell it.

0:48:110:48:16

OK? I know you've only got a few people here,

0:48:160:48:18

but there's going to be more noise, more people here today,

0:48:180:48:21

so you need just to be up for it, even this morning. All right?

0:48:210:48:24

'A good result would be a top ten. That would be really good.'

0:48:310:48:34

That would just be like the cherry on top of the cake.

0:48:340:48:37

I don't think we could be any more prepared for this competition.

0:48:370:48:40

We've done absolutely everything, so it's kind of at that stage

0:48:400:48:44

where you just want to enjoy it and what will be will be.

0:48:440:48:47

There's nothing more that she

0:48:470:48:49

or anyone else could've done to be ready for this.

0:48:490:48:52

Just nice and slow, not too fast.

0:48:520:48:55

-Like Lily, it's Mia's first time here.

-Good girl.

0:48:550:48:58

Injury prevented her competing last year

0:48:580:49:01

and nearly did for her chances this year.

0:49:010:49:03

She's definitely recovered from the injury now.

0:49:030:49:06

There was a period of time where we were behind schedule,

0:49:060:49:09

but I feel we've caught up with it now.

0:49:090:49:11

Genevieve is the most experienced,

0:49:140:49:16

but the under-15 category is very demanding.

0:49:160:49:20

Three minutes on ice to include spins, jumps and especially axels.

0:49:200:49:25

Good girl.

0:49:250:49:26

She has two double axels and a triple Salchow

0:49:260:49:29

and the double axel she fell on yesterday in the programme,

0:49:290:49:31

so it's just to make sure that she's not got any negativity

0:49:310:49:35

in her mind setting up into that element in the programme.

0:49:350:49:38

David wants to bring up another worry.

0:49:400:49:43

-Do you get stressed out by the competitions?

-Sometimes.

0:49:430:49:46

Depends what competition.

0:49:460:49:49

OK, why do you get stressed?

0:49:490:49:51

-I don't know.

-You don't know? Can I ask you a question?

0:49:510:49:55

Do you think it's your mum that stresses you out?

0:49:550:49:58

-Sometimes.

-Sometimes. I think most of the time.

0:49:580:50:01

Well, probably don't go near her as much as you should today,

0:50:010:50:05

because we don't want her to stress you out.

0:50:050:50:07

I know that, when she performs,

0:50:080:50:11

she does look up and she wants to see that I'm watching.

0:50:110:50:15

For some reason, it's really important for her

0:50:150:50:17

to see me watching her.

0:50:170:50:19

So go out there,

0:50:190:50:21

sell it.

0:50:210:50:23

Excuse me? Let me see it. Go, OK.

0:50:230:50:26

THEY CHEER

0:50:260:50:29

Go, Genevieve!

0:50:290:50:31

I think she seemed really calm today, which is good,

0:50:310:50:33

and I hope mum's in the stands keeping calm as well.

0:50:330:50:37

MUSIC PLAYS

0:50:370:50:39

Come on. One, two, up, back.

0:50:490:50:53

Aw!

0:50:540:50:55

Oh, my God...

0:50:550:50:58

Bombed it, didn't she?

0:50:580:50:59

If you're going to fall, you might as well fall on all three of them.

0:51:210:51:25

It looks like you were collecting them there.

0:51:250:51:28

She just needs to learn to deal with the pressure.

0:51:280:51:31

'It's a stepping stone and it's a harsh lesson to learn,

0:51:310:51:35

'but it's what we need to do.

0:51:350:51:37

'I think they both want it

0:51:370:51:40

'but I think it might be more mum rather than daughter.'

0:51:400:51:43

Today, I want you to attack, I want you to put your heart

0:51:480:51:51

and soul into it and go for it and just be confident within yourself.

0:51:510:51:56

Lily and Mia are about to take to the ice.

0:51:560:51:59

For the British, there are 35 competitors in the under-12s.

0:52:010:52:04

They each have three minutes to impress the judges

0:52:040:52:07

with at least four jumps and two spins.

0:52:070:52:10

Energy, attack. I want to see that programme Mia-fied.

0:52:140:52:19

Mia wants to do a double loop jump today to boost her score.

0:52:190:52:23

But she finds it difficult and knows it's a risk.

0:52:230:52:26

I would like Mia to hit a PB, a score of 30. Now, that's not easy.

0:52:260:52:31

MUSIC PLAYS

0:52:310:52:33

Good girl.

0:52:430:52:45

There you go.

0:52:450:52:46

Up you go.

0:52:560:52:58

Whoo!

0:53:130:53:15

Come on. Give me your hand.

0:53:230:53:24

-Oh, my God!

-Wow!

0:53:270:53:28

Second place just now. Well done.

0:53:300:53:32

Aw, darling, you've just smashed your PB! I'm so proud of you.

0:53:320:53:35

If Lily's to be a champion, now is the moment she must show it.

0:53:360:53:41

Don't forget what Gracie told you. Yeah? And my advice.

0:53:430:53:47

Enjoy every second of it. All right? Go for it, Lils.

0:53:470:53:51

Next to skate, from Blackburn, Lily Matthias.

0:53:510:53:55

CHEERING

0:53:550:53:56

Come on, Lily!

0:53:560:53:58

MUSIC PLAYS

0:53:580:53:59

She's on it.

0:54:050:54:07

Come on, Lils.

0:54:090:54:11

Nope.

0:54:140:54:16

-Legs have gone a bit, haven't they?

-Yeah.

0:54:210:54:23

SHE EXHALES

0:54:390:54:41

-You feel like you lost your legs a bit towards the end?

-No.

-No?

0:54:410:54:45

I can't even breathe. Water.

0:54:460:54:48

Yeah.

0:54:570:54:59

-That was really harsh.

-Wasn't it?

-Really harsh.

0:54:590:55:03

Lily's fall leaves her 31st out of 35 girls.

0:55:040:55:08

I've been everywhere looking for you.

0:55:090:55:11

You all right?

0:55:130:55:15

LILY SOBS

0:55:160:55:18

-It's only one competition.

-But it's a big one.

0:55:180:55:22

-It is, but there'll be other big ones.

-I'm so proud of you.

0:55:220:55:25

I couldn't do that.

0:55:250:55:27

Don't cry.

0:55:290:55:30

Don't cry.

0:55:310:55:33

'I'm not bothered what they score. The score doesn't matter at all.'

0:55:340:55:38

It's just disappointing for me to know that she's so disappointed.

0:55:380:55:42

It all got a bit on top of her.

0:55:450:55:47

She'll recognise that in a few days and, hopefully, next time

0:55:470:55:50

she'll recognise that coming on her and know how to change that.

0:55:500:55:55

You tell me. I need something from you, physically tell me. Say.

0:55:590:56:04

-Disappointed.

-Disappointed because?

0:56:040:56:07

-I fell.

-Next time, it will be...?

-Amazing.

-There you go.

0:56:070:56:11

Thank you and goodnight.

0:56:110:56:13

HE LAUGHS

0:56:130:56:16

But that's, I would say, to be expected with the age

0:56:160:56:19

and inexperience.

0:56:190:56:21

It's called growing up. It's life. You take it and you move on.

0:56:210:56:25

If you can't take it, don't do it.

0:56:250:56:26

In second place, Mia Gallagher.

0:56:280:56:31

CHEERING

0:56:310:56:34

For the man picking the Olympic squad for 2022,

0:56:340:56:37

it's how the girls perform in competitions that's crucial.

0:56:370:56:41

'This is the growth period

0:56:420:56:44

-'and this is the learning period for these children.'

-Silver medallist.

0:56:440:56:47

'We've got not one, two, three or four or five, but maybe 10-15.

0:56:490:56:53

'Whereas, this time next year, I'll be looking at the list'

0:56:530:56:56

and going, "Oh, a second tick, a second tick," or, "Hm."

0:56:560:57:00

You never know.

0:57:000:57:01

'It's only three minutes of your life

0:57:090:57:11

'each time you do it, but the three minutes means a lot to you.'

0:57:110:57:16

It wasn't dreadful.

0:57:170:57:19

When I came off the ice, I never thought I'd give up or anything.

0:57:360:57:39

I just felt so down on myself and I just wanted to do it all again,

0:57:390:57:44

which is good in a way, cos I could have just been like, "That's it.

0:57:440:57:49

"I've had enough." But I don't want to ever quit.

0:57:490:57:52

MUSIC: Instrumental of Let It Go from Frozen

0:57:540:57:57

I have watched a lot of medal ceremonies,

0:57:590:58:02

all the Olympians getting their medals.

0:58:020:58:04

It really makes you motivated to try and get that goal.

0:58:040:58:10

It would be amazing if it could be me.

0:58:100:58:13

It's go big or go home.

0:58:160:58:18

Lily Matthias's dream is to be an ice-skating star and to represent her country - ultimately at the Olympics. What that ambition means for her family is mum Lyndsey getting up at 4am six days a week to drive Lily to her training in Blackburn, and dad Wayne spending a fortune every month on lessons, ice time, costumes and competition fees. So strong is Lily's commitment to her training that she's dropped out of school to focus on it. It has been entirely her own decision.

Her trainer Kathryn Hudson says she's the most motivated 11-year-old she knows but also warns that very few actually make it to the top.

Whether Lily can make it will be put to the test at the UK's biggest competition of the year, the British Figure Skating Championships. But Lily faces tough competition from two 12-year-olds - Scot Mia Gallagher who trains six days a week, morning and night, and Genevieve Sommerville, the number one skater for her age group, who is already competing in the advanced novice category.

This film follows the girls' preparation across autumn 2015 as they train towards the British championships and reveals why having an ice princess in the family comes at a price - not just the time spent ferrying the girls to practices at dawn but the huge financial costs and risk of injury involved in the world of competitive skating.

If you have ever harboured even the slightest desire that your child had a special talent or serious sporting prowess, then this documentary may serve as a salutary reminder to be careful what you wish for!


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