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Former Olympians Train Young Skaters at Brooklyn Rink

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Former Olympic figure skaters and coaches are teaching young skaters at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

For these young skaters getting used to the ice isn't easy.

But they have a leg up on other kids their age. They are learning how to ice skate from a former Olympic athlete.

"I’ll try to get them exciting, try to love our sport and it’s such a nice and beautiful things to teach and sharing all information what I know and teach them, educate the best things what I can do," said Alexander Abt, a former Olympic Skater.

Alexander Abt placed fifth in the 2002 winter Olympics in men's figure skating. Now he is one of the coaches taking part in the Learn to Skate program at the Aviator Sports and Events Center located at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY.

"I start this program six years ago from 2008, June 2008 to be exactly, and kids first they sign up for the group classes, Learn to Skate program, and as they advance and they move to the private lessons, they become more competitive, they go to competitions, they do test sessions," said Slava Rozanski, founder of the Aviator Learn to Skate program.

Rozanski was Olympic Coach himself in the 1998 Nagano games.

He says the Learn to Skate program starts skaters out as young as 3 years old, taking on very basic skills.

"Basic balance, how to march in place, how to proper fall and stand up, how to hold their feet on the ice, teaching them how to feel comfortable, to enjoy it, to have fun on the ice, which is not so easy because it’s cold, sometimes painful," said Rozanski.

As the kids get older and improve their skills they can start taking lessons multiple times a week and taking part in competitions.

And if you are like 9 year old Karina Varshavskiy you can have multiple coaches.

"Me and my parents used to always go here on public skating, and then my mom said maybe I should try it out because I was really good at my balance. So then I started taking lessons from a coach named Irene, and then I got on a really high level and then I moved to two different coaches," said Karina Varshavskiy, one of the skaters.

The young skaters say they are getting very excited for the Olympic games in Sochi.

"I try my best to watch it and I get a little nervous for them because if it were me out there I would be terrified," said Sarah Beth Lent, another skater.

"You want to see who’s the most best at skating, most talented at skating because they have these really cool programs and stuff," said Olivia Katsur, another skater.

They say they hope to compete in the games themselves one day.

"Because everyone at the Olympics is such talented skaters and I want to be one of those skaters when I grow up," said Lent.

Getting to the Olympic games was a dream come true for both coaches. Now they say their new dream is to see one of their students get there.

"If you go to Olympics it’s a huge work, it’s the toughest work, it’s a lot of people, it’s not only one. You have coaches, you have special people, you have a choreographer, you have a lot of people around you who can help you to your dream," said Abt.

"To train for the Olympic Games is like a full time job so they practice approximately between 26 to 30 hours weekly, on the ice and off ice doing stretching and physical condition and special condition, so it’s a lot involved in preparation for the Olympic games," said Rozanski.

But these skaters say they have what it takes to make it to the top.

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