Sparta figure skater is golden
It may have taken an uncharacteristic performance for Kendall Johnson to realize her full potential, but when she finally became comfortable on the Nebraska ice, the 14-year old Sparta figure skater came out on top – twice!
Johnson, a freshman at Sparta High School, turned some heads over the summer when she won a pair of gold medals in figure skating at the State Games of America in Omaha.
The daughter of Mark and Jennifer Johnson of Sparta, Johnson qualified for the national event in January at the Badger State Games in Wausau, where she earned top-three finishes in artistic, compulsory and freestyle skating.
While earning the trip to nationals was a dream come true for Johnson, she wasn’t about to rest on her laurels.
But things didn’t start out so well at nationals.
Johnson didn’t skate well in the artistic category and finished fifth.
“I skated as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland,” she offered.
“The rink they had me practice on was a hockey rink, which is harder and has more scratches that a regular figure skating rink,” added Johnson.
In addition, the practice rink did not contain the lines that are standard on figure skating rinks.
Johnson admits she didn’t perform with a lot of confidence in the artistic portion of the competition, but she certainly learned from her mistakes.
“I was scared,” she said.
Then Johnson got to know one of her competitors better, which helped her become more confident.
“I became comfortable on the rink,” she added. “I knew I could have done better the first time, but it may have been good that I didn’t because it kind of gave me a new goal.”
The new goal paid off, as Johnson followed by earning back-to-back gold medals in compulsory and freestyle.
“It was awesome,” she offered, adding that her boost in confidence was all she needed.
“That’s how I was thinking – that I was going to win,” Johnson continued. “I had to keep a positive attitude, because if I thought I wasn’t going to win, I probably wasn’t.”
Johnson’s gold-medal performances in Omaha earned her a trip to the next State Games of America, which will be held in Michigan in March of 2017.
And it’s likely a safe bet she’ll go into that competition with confidence as well.