Meet Olivia Jenkinson
At only 13 years old, Great Britain's Olivia Jenkinson is well on her way to achieving greatness on the ice - and off of it as well. This well-rounded Sheffield native's resume of extracurricular achievements is quite impressive and speaks volumes about her character, work ethic, and steadfast commitment to excellence. Following a successful solo dance career, Olivia teamed up with Stanley Evans and began to make her mark on the ice dance world. As reigning British basic novice national champions, Olivia and Stanley moved up two levels this season and have already earned a medal at their first advanced novice qualifier of the year. Olivia is also just as talented on the dance floor as she is on the ice, passing her double gold bar exam in ballroom dance and studying additional styles, including contemporary and ballet. And I would be remiss to not mention her involvement in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award program (the world's leading youth achievement award, which helps young people acquire essential skills, self-confidence, and invaluable experience in order to open doors for their futures).
With a great head on her shoulders and a devotion to artistic and academic merit, this is just the beginning for all the amazing things Olivia is destined to achieve in her lifetime. We chatted with Olivia about how she manages the 100-mile commute to train with Stanley, which senior ice dancers inspire her the most, and what her goals are for this season and beyond.
Birthday: July 24th, 2006 (13)
Born: Sheffield, England
Hometown: Sheffield, England
Currently: Sheffield, England
Country Represented: Great Britain
Skating Club: iceSheffield
Discipline: Ice Dance
Partner: Stanley Evans
Level: Advanced Novice
Training Location: iceSheffield in Sheffield, England / Planet Ice in Peterborough, England
Coaches: Edward Barker, Amanda Hembrow-Jones
Boots: Edea Flamenco Ice
Blades: John Wilson Parabolic Dance
Q: You are only 13, but it’s very obvious you have a strong passion for ice dance - and figure skating in general. Why do you love skating, and what’s the best part of this sport for you?
A: I love skating because of the feeling I get when the wind rushes past my face when I skate, the rush of gliding across the ice, the sound of my sharp edges cutting into the ice, the thrill of nailing that element I’ve been practising for ages, the thrill of performing my program to the judges and the audience, and the joy and pride of achieving the scores I want and achieving success.
I love being part of the skating community and having lifelong friendships from across Great Britain and different countries, forged from a mutual passion for the sport and understanding and respect of the sacrifices each of us make to be the best we can be. I also love the access we have as the younger skating generation to watch the older and more experienced skaters at international and important competitions.
Q: Having also been involved in ballroom dance since the age of three, your movement talents are strong both on and off the ice. Ballroom and ice dance are very similar, but what little differences in details have you noticed between the two types of dance? And what are your goals in ballroom dance for the future?
A: With ballroom and Latin, as you dance in heels, your body style and framework is different than when ice dancing. Your arms interpret the music, and this is a discipline that I can carry to ice dance very easily. My goals in the future in ballroom and Latin are to pass my triple gold bar exams with honours in the next few weeks and then to excel in my advanced exams. In order to enhance our component scores, Stanley and I have also started to work with my ballroom and Latin teacher to improve our arms, facial expressions, and the way we move our bodies.
Q: Congratulations on completing your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bronze level - that is such an amazing accomplishment! Can you share with us what activities you chose to do to fulfill the Volunteering, Physical, Skills, and Expedition sections? How has being part of this program shaped you as a person?
A: Here is a breakdown by category of what I had to achieve -
Volunteering - I volunteered at the Peterborough ice rink to help out the toddlers before starting their skating lessons. This is an hour-long session per week and has taught me lots of new skills. It’s also great that I do this with Stanley and Ed (our coach).
Physical - Skating! I have worked with Amanda (our other coach) on key techniques and objectives for my skating.
Skills - I am an active member of the school choir, and we have sung in many concerts, including one at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Expedition - I completed three weekends, one training, one practice, and one qualifying in the peak district. We hiked for 18 kilometers per day and stayed in a tent for one night. This year I will be studying for my Silver award.
Q: When I interviewed Stanley, I was struck by the fact that both of you constantly travel over 100 miles to train with each other, either in Sheffield or Peterborough. Does the long distance take a toll on you, and how do you balance your skating career with the other parts of your life?
A: It does take its toll on me, however I have perfected the technique of sleeping in the back of the car very well. I complete my homework when I get it so it doesn’t stack up - this then gives me time to relax or hang out with my friends. If you want something badly, it won’t be given to you! But if you get an opportunity, then take it with both hands. We enjoy dancing with each other so much so the traveling is never an issue.
Q: What short-term and long-term goals do you have for yourself and Stanley?
A: This year, my ultimate goal is to improve as an ice dancer by improving on my skating skills, performance, interpretation, elements, and key points. Because we have moved up two levels as an ice dance team, we are aiming to be competitive and consistent at advanced novice, get our competitive and test scores to level up, qualify for the British Championships in November/December, and challenge for a podium at the British Championships.
Favorite dish to cook?
Fish and vegetable kebabs.
Last book you read?
Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold - it was a Christmas present, and I have found it very inspiring.
If you were a type of pie, which kind would you be and why?
Apple pie... because the flavour is feisty but also sweet... just like me!
If you were a pattern dance, which one would you be and why?
The quickstep because it's light, bubbly but powerful, and unpredictable.
How do you cheer yourself up if you’ve had a bad day?
I go skating and if I can’t skate, I dance.
What fictional character do you wish you could meet and why?
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter because she is fearless and courageous.
Favorite memory with Stanley?
Standing on the podium next to Stanley having just won the British Championships in the basic novice category. I feel so fortunate that we have a team of people that believe in us, and as much as we enjoyed the moment, it was brilliant for them too.
Biggest inspiration in ice dance?
Madison Hubbell - I dream of meeting her one day.
Most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
I was fortunate to have visited Santorini, Greece, in the summer holidays.
Quote to live by?
"Goals should never be easy, they should force us to keep going, work hard and be positive, even if it is uncomfortable at the time."
KEEP UP WITH OLIVIA
Personal Instagram: @liv_jenkinson
Skating Instagram: @icedancer_olivia
Team Facebook: Olivia and Stanley Ice Dance
Team YouTube: Olivia and Stanley Ice Dance
All other photos and videos courtesy of Olivia Jenkinson