Meet Stanley Evans
The sport of figure skating and the word "dedication" often go hand in hand, but especially when describing British ice dancer Stanley Evans, one of the most dedicated skaters I've ever come across. But I guess you kind of have to have that intense level of dedication when your ice dance partner lives 100 miles away from you! Stanley takes the expression "going the extra mile" to the extreme - he and partner Olivia Jenkinson constantly travel across the country to squeeze in training sessions, choreography, and competitions. Whether they're skating at Stanley's home rink (Planet Ice in Peterborough) or Olivia's (iceSheffield in, of course, Sheffield), these two young novice skaters, at 15 and 13, are in a very committed relationship to the ice and in a very committed partnership with each other. Their fidelity and determination is definitely paying off because after less than a year of being paired together, they won the basic novice title at the 2018-19 British Figure Skating Championships. A very promising beginning, indeed!
It was lovely interviewing this well-spoken young man and learning about all his big plans and dreams for the future, which include representing his country at the international level, signing with an acting agency, one day attending a top university. Let me add that he also won the British Solo Ice Dance Championships, was named the Brooke Weston Schools Trust's Sports Performer of the Year, is on the British Ice Skating Development Squad, and is also a magician in his spare time. Read on to get to know the hardworking, industrious Stanley!
Birthday: September 28th, 2003 (15 years old)
Born: Corby, England
Hometown: Corby, England
Currently: Corby, England
Country Represented: Great Britain
Skating Club: iceSheffield
Discipline: Ice Dance
Partner: Olivia Jenkinson
Level: Advanced Novice
Training Location: Planet Ice in Peterborough, England / iceSheffield in Sheffield, England
Coaches: Edward Barker, Amanda Hembrow-Jones
Blades: John Wilson
At the British Figure Skating Championships in December 2018, Stanley and Olivia performing their Swing Dance pattern to "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys
Q: What is it about figure skating - and ice dance specifically - that makes you love it so much?
A: The rush of effortlessly gliding across the ice at speed, the sound of sharp edges cutting into fresh ice, the thrill of nailing that element I’ve (we’ve) been practicing for an age, the elation of performing our program better than ever before, the joy of competing and pride at the happiness our success brings to others. The sense of belonging to the skating family. The lifelong friendships made from across my community, country, and the world forged in a mutual passion for our sport and understanding and respect of the sacrifices each of us make to be the best we can be.
Stanley and Olivia skate their enchanting La La Land free dance at the 2018-19 British Figure Skating Championships
Q: Last season, you and Olivia were the basic novice champions at the 2018-19 British Figure Skating Championships... after less than a year of skating together! What do you think contributed to your win, and what makes you and Olivia perfect partners for each other?
A: To start, we were both successful solo dancers, in fact we first met at a solo competition. I think our coach originally paired us up based on our look on the ice, but the fact that we have been successful is much more to do with our matching work ethic, drive to succeed, and positive attitude towards training. I think this is essential, particularly given the distance between us and the fact that we often have to train apart. I believe we have really hit it off as friends and find it really easy to relax and be in each others' company. I would describe our relationship as being much like brother and sister, and I think this closeness and trust in each other really shows through when we skate together.
Left: Stanley and Olivia on the podium after becoming the British basic novice national champions
Q: As we transition into the 2019-20 skating season, what are some of your and Olivia's goals for the upcoming months?
A: This year, just as in previous years, my goal is to improve as an ice dancer. As an ice dance team, as we have moved up two levels, we are aiming to be competitive in advanced novice and challenge for a podium at the national championships. We are also aiming to begin competing internationally and test ourselves at increasingly higher levels.
Stanley and Olivia skating their Willow Waltz pattern dance to Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" - love this music choice!
Q: What would representing Team Great Britain internationally mean to you?
A: I remember the first time I represented my rink at a competition and the sense of pride that gave me - I really wanted to skate well for all my friends and show off the work that we were all doing. It gave me a real buzz and to now imagine that one day I might do that for my country, wow! It would be just amazing. I got a first little taste of this when me and Olivia were chosen to attend an ISU Ice Dance Novice Training Seminar in Oberstdorf, Germany, this year, mixing with other skaters from all over the globe... the pride in wearing (our) national colours, I would love the opportunity to repeat this but in competition. It will validate all the sacrifices we make and help motivate me to continue to regularly get up at 3:30 AM for the drive to training. Missing out on spending time with friends can be tough, but it is such dreams that keep me going.
Q: Off the ice, you are a student, guitar player, actor, magician, and so much more. What are some of your personal goals outside of skating?
A: I know that this might be a bit of a boring answer, but I really want to do well at school. I have some very important exams at the end of the next school year, and it is my goal to get the grades I need to continue towards my choice of university. I am also searching for an acting agency to further my performance ambitions.
From skating to studying to acting, Stanley is a triple-threat on and off the ice!
If you could live in any other country, which one would it be and why?
Japan - I find the culture fascinating, and I would love the opportunity to learn more about it first-hand, as it seems so different from the Western culture.
Favorite pre-competition meal?
With start times varying so much from early mornings to late evening, I don't really have one - it's more about timing my intake and making sure it gives me the energy I require when I need it.
A Swing Dance set to The Beach Boys? Yes please!
If you could have three wishes granted, what would they be?
To have an ice rink built in the town I live in. To never get injured. To never lose my love of skating. Or health, wealth, and stealth (ninja skills)!
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My work ethic, loyalty and dedication.
Quote to live by?
"Be stupid, be dumb, be funny, if that's who you are. Don't try to be someone that society wants you to be; that's stupid. So be yourself."
Video by BBC News
KEEP UP WITH STANLEY
Team Facebook: Olivia and Stanley Ice Dance
Team YouTube: Olivia and Stanley Ice Dance
Follow Stanley - and his awesome partner Olivia Jenkinson - on social media, and keep your eyes on these two as they work toward their dreams!
All other photos and videos courtesy of Stanley Evans