Former Olympian coaches Tulsa student who he says can shine in 2026 Olympic games

Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 18:52:39-05

TULSA -- Every Olympic champion starts out as an Olympic hopeful, and right here in Tulsa a former ice skating Olympian said he's training 2026's biggest star. 

She has a gentle spirit. 

"It just makes me feel happy."

And you have to lean in to catch each word, but when Sarah Swenton slices that ice, you pay attention. 

"I feel graceful, I kind of feel free from everything,” she said. 

This isn’t one of those stories that starts with fate or a happy accident. A tiny Sarah knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. 

"She started saying she wanted to skate when she was two. We lived in Dallas at the time and there was a rink in the mall, and every time we would walk by the rink she would say 'I want to do that,’” said her mother Julia Swenton. 

"They told me they didn't think I would like it,” Sarah smiled. 

"Oh, she was serious. But it was one of those things - she was two and we didn't think you'd skate at two,” said her dad Eric Swenton. 

Now seven years later her only partner in this giant rink, the effervescent glitter on her dress shining almost as bright as she does. 

"It would mean so much to me to be able to go to the Olympics."

But her partner in crime in making her dreams come true, a modest powerhouse. 

"I think the dedication, the effort on an everyday basis is amazing, and that feels like me back in time,” said her coach and former Olympian Boyko Alexiev. 

He’s a 1988 Olympian. 

"Sarah brings something great in her. She has that competitive spirit. When it's time to go she goes 100 percent,” he said. 

Twelve hours a week they perfect every jump, turn and spin. 

"He brings me chocolate and stuff,” Sarah laughed. 

Understanding the best technique for motivation isn’t on the ice. 

"Yes, if we achieve this I'm going to bring you chocolate. She loves chocolate,” laughed Alexiev. 

Because he’s confident Sarah has what it takes to stand on the world’s most sacred podium, maybe alongside some of her idols. 

"Ashley Wagner, Jason Brown, Nathan Chen…,” she said. 

"For him, an ex-Olympian himself, to see that in her it means everything."

For Julia and her husband the routine, whether it be on the ice or taking her from lesson to lesson, never gets old. 

"I just want her to continue to be happy on the ice because when she steps on the ice she becomes a different person."

Sarah showing us all the only time you should ever look back is when there’s something daring, bold and beautiful to look forward to. 

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