|Official Site of the 2010 U.S. Champion and Olympian|
When teenager Rachael was not at her rink in Colorado Springs, Colo., in summer 2008, she was tuned into the Beijing Olympic Games. "I was glued to the TV. It's such an amazing event to watch, especially when the athletes are at the peak of their careers," she said. "I think I skated a little bit better then because I was so motivated by seeing other people's dreams become a reality."
The next Olympic dream to come true was her own. At the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash., the 17 year old became the first U.S. lady to break 200 points, winning the gold medal behind a personal best short program and free skate. The national title earned her a spot on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. She finished seventh at her first Games.
A consistent performer with a repertoire of triple jumps, Rachael followed up her silver medal at the 2008 U.S. Championships by winning the World Junior Championship. She finished fourth at October 2008's Skate America international, ahead of teammates 2008 U.S. Champion Mirai Nagasu and 2006 World Champion Kimmie Meissner.
Her senior international breakthrough came with a silver medal at 2008 Cup of Russia, where she bested two-time World bronze medalist Fumie Suguri of Japan. The technical element score (60.86) of her second place free skate was more than four points higher than all of the other competitors impart because of solid triple jumps and mostly Level 4 elements.
Only in her first season competing internationally as a senior skater, Rachael said "It feels weird finally being at such an elite level that hopefully making it to the Olympics is reality."
With a fifth place finish at the 2009 World Championships, her first time competing at the event, and beating World Champion Yu-Na Kim in the free skate at Skate America, her dream of being an Olympian inched closer. She met the challenge head on, earning a spot on the team behind two triple-triple jump combinations, one in each program.
"I think the Olympics are always in the back of my mind but I try to focus on my day-to-day skating," Rachael said before making for the team. "I have my day-to-day goals, my week to-week, month-to-month goals but (the Olympic Games) are always in the back of my mind. It's the ultimate competition. Everything I do counts toward that ultimate goal of competing there."
Rachael is one of the top contenders for the Games in Vancouver, Canada, but is not ready to rule out a possible run for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. "I always thought ‘the sooner, the better' but I think we've always kind of aimed for 2010 since I would be young," said Rachael, who finished fifth in her senior national debut at the 2007 U.S. Championships and improved to second in 2008.
"Even when we started looking at this plan for 2010 four years back, we thought we'd have to make a lot of improvements in my skating, like maturing on the ice as a skater and acquiring new skills that make 2010 realistic in terms of my skating," she said. "I think I've done that but if it doesn't work out, 2014 will always be an option. I will still be young then too."
Rachael began skating when she was 4 years old when her dad took her to the mall to shop for a birthday gift for her grandfather, and they came home with skating lessons instead. By 12, she was the U.S. Champion in the novice ladies division and the junior runner-up a year later in 2006. Her senior debut came in 2007 with a fifth place finish. In 2008, she won the silver medal.
Rachael also succeed in pair skating in addition to freestyle. She passed her Novice Pairs test and competed in Juvenile and Intermediate pairs with Andrew Speroff. Together they won a silver medal in National Juvenile Pairs in 2003 and are the 2004 Intermediate National Pair Champions.
Skating only makes up a portion of Rachael's busy life although it has allowed her to travel the globe including visits to Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia and Slovenia. Of the cities she has visited, she lists Vienna, Austria, as her favorite but her favorite trip overall was to Italy.
A member of U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team, she is a straight-A student enrolled in English, chemistry and biology Advanced Placement courses at Cheyenne Mountain High School, which honored her with the 2008 Athletic Excellence Award. Following her skating career, she is interested in pursuing the sciences — possibly biomechanical engineering, medical school and orthopedics.
She applied to nine colleges: Dartmouth, University of Denver, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA and Yale. After mulling over acceptances from seven schools, she selected Stanford, and will begin her freshman year in fall 2011. Rachael elected to defer admission one year to focus on skating.
To allow her to train while attending Stanford, Rachael announced in August 2011 that she would end her professional relationship with Tom Zakrajsek and Becky Calvin at the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she had trained for 10 years. Although grateful to Zakrajsek and Calvin for their work, she is now under the direction of Justin Dillon, Lynn Smith and Sergei Ponomarenko at three ice rinks in the Palo Alto, Calif., area.
"With regard to my skating, there are so many people who have been part of my team," Rachael said. "I’d like to thank Tom and Becky especially for being part of that team from the beginning."
Rachael is a volunteer with the learn-to-skate program at her local rink. She also has an active part in Blades for the Cure, a charitable organization started with the intent of using the talents of national and international figure skaters to raise awareness and funds to benefit individuals and families faced with overwhelming financial need in the face of cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
An avid reader who lists her favorite book as Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Rachael recently partnered with Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit children's literacy organization. She was also the spokesperson for the American Association of Orthodontists for the Band Together educational campaign. In December 2009, she was named an Athlete Ambassador for the USOC's Team for Tomorrow Humanitarian Relief Fund.
She has two Old English Sheepdogs, Fred and Ethel, named after television characters on the I Love Lucy.
Rachael Flatt Online is written and produced by Rachael Flatt and
For professional inquiries, including appearance and interview requests, please e-mail Requests4Rachael@aol.com.