While most Nashville residents are fearful when ice approaches, Belmont freshman Alicia Hsu is ready to step into any skating rink, willing to conquer the ice with elegance and no fear.
Her fearlessness guided Hsu to win at the U.S. Collegiate Skating Championship in Sun Valley, Idaho last summer, where she competed against 27 other female skaters from across the country in the senior ladies division.
After days of difficult competition in the short, long, and free style programs, Hsu skated a combined score of 115.80 to capture the gold medal and a $5,000 scholarship.
“The experience was great. It was just so nice meeting a bunch of other college skaters from across the U.S. because a lot of people quit before college,” Hsu said. “It was inspiring to see a bunch of us out there.”
Like many other athletes, ice-skating came second nature to Hsu at a young age, whose parents enrolled her into group lessons when she was 4.
“That probably didn’t last a month because one day I bashed my head and quit,” Hsu said. “But I decided to give it another shot when I was 8, and I kept going until now, 10 years later.”
Family has always been important to Hsu, the oldest of four children.
“My family has always been pretty supportive, especially my mom who mostly took me to practice and competitions,” Hsu said. “I have three younger half sisters and love them dearly. Two of them are skating right now, and I get to teach them once a week in group lessons so it’s pretty cute.”
When she is competing, Hsu said that she enjoys performing the more complex long program, which lasts four minutes and 10 seconds. The short program lasts two minutes and 50 seconds.
“I feel like I’m better at that one. Most people like short but I like long because a lot of people kind of get tired after doing short. I have pretty good endurance though.”
Endurance is crucial for any skater to have, which is why Hsu tries to maintain a tough training schedule. In the offseason, Hsu practices five days a week for 90 minutes.
During the skating season, usually between April and November for Hsu, she kicks it up a notch. She practices two to four hours daily choreographing her routines, running through the programs, and working hard to improve the elements of her routines.
One of the biggest inspirations on the ice to Hsu is Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan.
“Since I started, I followed all her competitions. She was always so consistent and was an artist on ice, could not only land all the elements but actually interpret the music, and I always looked up to her,” Hsu said. “My roommates always joke that I’m her daughter.”
Outside the rink, Hsu is a biology major here at Belmont and hopes to graduate in three and half years and attend either medical school or physical therapy school.
“I really liked the science program here and the size of Belmont and classes. Plus it was close to home in Hendersonville, I could still skate, and Belmont’s campus is beautiful,” she said.
–By Courtney Martinez