There she is. She's about to step onto the ice. The atmosphere cold, the crowd excited, and Sofia Guidote, just like every other 14-year-old figure skater during a tough competition, is nervous. She blocks out everything and everyone to help her concentrate, and she says a little prayer. Striking her beginning pose, she feels good, determined even. And as the music plays and her hands and feet dance gracefully, she smiles.
I just enjoy the competition and the performance. I get stuck in the moment, and I tell myself, "It's my moment to shine. Make the most of it! After that, I feel very satisfied because I know that all my hard work was worth it."
Unlike any other young figure skater, Sofia is the epitome of happiness, determination, charm, and talent. At such a young age, she has accomplished so much and is enjoying every minute of it in the process. Back in 2014, she was the Advanced Novice Ladies Champion in the Philippine National Figure Skating Championships. And last 2013, she bagged a bronze medal, making history since she was the first ever Filipino figure skater to win a medal in that competition. She owns dozens of medals from many other competitions, both local and international and yet, she still remains humble and kind.
Recently, Disney chose her to be an ambassador for their Dream Big, Princess campaign, which is a three-year global movement encouraging everyone to dream and follow their hearts. Sofia likens herself to Rapunzel, having to endure hours upon hours of training and trudging through mountains of obstacles while on her way to her dream: the Winter Olympics.
We were able to catch her after an ice show recently, and she was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions.
How did you get into ice skating?
I went on a play date with my friend to the rink and I never stopped talking about it, and I'm a very talkative girl. So my mom finally asked me if I wanted to learn ice skating, and I haven't stopped since!
What made you want to aim for the Olympics?
Ever since I was a young girl (Read: Sofia started skating at age 5), there was this banner in the rink and I wrote on it. I jotted down, "I want to go to the Winter Olympics." I guess it was just automatic for me, no need to think twice. When I was in first grade, I even missed school to watch the Olympics! And when I saw the talented and passionate skaters perform and compete, I was definitely inspired to be there as well.
What's your favorite thing about figure skating?
I would say performing. I love performing. And the costumes, of course!
Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up?
There were a lot of times when I felt like giving up and quitting. What I'd do is I'd talk to my parents about it, and they'd tell me to sleep on it and decide the next day if I still feel the same way. One day, when I was on the verge of quitting, my parents told me not to skate for a day. I felt so bad! I instantly missed the ice and the rink and the wind brushing through my face. I had to go back.
Usually, I'd get frustrated whenever I can't seem to land a jump perfectly. This is what happened recently, and my mom and dad would tell me that I wouldn't get this element right if I quit. I'd tell myself that if I quit now, I'll never get this move right, and I don't want that to be the reason I don't reach my dreams.
How important is your parents' support when going after your dreams?
It's super important. Without them, I can't survive! They are my go-to people whenever I feel sad and frustrated or happy and talkative. They really support me and inspire me to dream big. To be honest, they keep me sane and happy in skating because figure skating is a very demanding sport. I'm very thankful that they have always been by my side every step of the way.
What song do you listen to as a pick-me-upper when you feel sad?
I like the "Fight Song" right now by Rachel Platten. It's so inspirational!
Who's your inspiration?
Of course, Michael Martinez! And the Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva.
What advice would you give Olympic dreamers?
Stay strong, because the world can be competitive. Dreams take time, patience, and a lot of discipline and sacrifices. So stay strong, work hard, and with that, you can do anything your heart desires.
Sofia is passionate and courageous, might we say the least, and she will definitely serve as an inspiration to every dreamer and believer out there. Dream big, Candy Girls!