Dundee’s four-time British figure skating champion Natasha McKay has moved closer to competing for Team GB at the Winter Olympics.
The 25-year-old said it is one of her life goals to represent the UK at an Olympics and hopes to make her debut at Beijing next year.
She was just six-year-old when she fell in love with the sport.
After spending the day on the ice at her friends birthday party, she gave her mum no peace for almost an entire year, trying to convince her she was serious about skating.
Eventually her mum caved, buying the then seven-year-old her very own skates and dress.
Natasha said she has hardly left the ice since.
Success throughout her career
The Dundee born and bred skater has already had significant success throughout her career.
In 2010, Natasha walked away with a bronze medal in the junior category of the British Championships.
In 2011, she was chosen to represent Team GB at the European Youth Olympic festival in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Making her senior debut in 2014/15, Natasha went on to secure a bronze at the British Senior Championships.
However, not content, Natasha pushed herself to come out on top and in 2016, following an international win at a competition in Andorra, she was crowned British Champion for the first time.
She would go on to win the top spot four more times – and is already eyeing her fifth.
More than just ice skating
But Natasha said training is not just about being on the ice.
“I train with Olympic coaches Simon and Debi Briggs at 6am normally every Wednesday to Sunday,” she said.
“But I also spend a lot of time working on strength and conditioning, pilates.” The skater also incorporates sports psychology to her training routine.
“I also help with coaching at the Dundee Ice Rink and help to deliver the Ice Dundee school skating programme.”
Like the rest of the world, the start of the pandemic put a pause on how and when she was able to train.
“I had to heavily rely on off-ice training and rare ice sessions,” she said.
“My first major competition after national lockdowns was the World Championships in Sweden.
“Even though I would’ve liked to be more prepared, I still managed to win the UK a spot for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.”
Training for the Olympics
Natasha will now compete with skaters across the UK to be selected to represent Team GB at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
She added: “My dream is, like so many other athletes, to represent my country at the Olympic Games.
“The first step is done, the UK has a spot. Now I have to work extra hard to secure it for myself.”
The figure skater said she would never have made it this far without the support of of her family and coaches.
“They play such a huge part”, she said.
“I would have never made it this far without my family, coaches and the support I get from SportsScotland.”
Natasha said she still loves ice skating, adding: “I love the balance between athleticism and artistry.
“When I am on the ice, I feel free.”