When figure skater Tim Dolensky looked at places where he could ratchet up his training for the upcoming Winter Olympics tryouts, he settled on Euless.
Euless likely doesn’t come to mind as a destination for elite figure skating and training, but the Dr Pepper StarCenter is home to Dolensky, his coaches and other figure skaters who are leaving New Year’s Day for San Jose, Calif., where they hope to qualify for the Olympics by doing well in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place Feb. 9-25 in PyeongChang, South Korea, about 80 miles east of Seoul.
Dolensky, 25, left his home in Atlanta and came to North Texas in March.
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“I love my coaches in Atlanta, but it’s not a big skating place, and there aren’t a lot of skaters on my level,” he said. “I was 24 and stil living at home. I was tired of the same old places, the same old roads. I was ready for change.”
He was also looking to work with coaches Darlene and Peter Cain, who are based at the Dr. Pepper Star Center.
Dolensky lives with the Cains, whose home is in Coppell.
Peter Cain, who coaches Dolensky and other Olypic hopefuls, including the couple’s daughter Ashley, said Dolensky went as far as he could with skating in Atlanta.
“We’ve known him for a long time, and he has traveled with us to competitions,” Cain said. “Tim is a very talented skater.”
Cain said he and his wife came to North Texas in 1990 after skating with Disney on Ice. When the Dr Pepper Star Center opened in Euless in 2000, the Cains began building their program for “elite skaters” from the United States and other countries.
“Euless is a hidden little secret, and it’s off the beaten path here,” Cain said.
Dolensky knew that he wanted to be a figure skater after a school field trip to an ice rink when he was in the first grade, and immediately began a rigorous competition schedule that has garnered him honors including the 2012 U.S. Junior silver medalist, two-time Eastern Sectional champion and two-time Grand Prix competitor.
When asked if he is concerned about tension between the United States and North Korea, Dolensky said he hasn’t had time to worry about it, because he is always practicing for the upcoming competition.
Besides figure skating, Dolensky is passionate about music. He composed several pieces he has used for his skating routines, but for the upcoming trials, he will skate to “Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons and, for his longer program, “Faux” by Novo Amor.
There were times when Dolensky wanted to quit, he said, but his love of skating kept him going.
“A lot of people don’t find their passion until later in life,” Dolensky said. “I’ve been bless to figure out early where I can work my hardest.”