Sydney Dean, contributing teen writer

Vanessa Bradfield is no stranger to hard work. A two-time United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) gold medalist, 17-year-old Vanessa has dedicated her life to figure skating.

Vanessa has been skating since she was 10 and has competed in two national championships, once as an individual skater and once as part of a synchronized skating team. To prepare for competitions, she says she “practically lives at the rink,” spending two to three hours a day, seven days a week on the ice. She explains that spending so much time ahead of a competition fine-tuning her skills and routines, helps her “get her all her nerves out and put her best foot forward.”

Vanessa’s coach, Julie Broschinsky, said one thing she admires most about Vanessa is her work ethic.

“Vanessa is a super hard worker. She is not one to back down from hard work,” Julie said. “She recognizes that what she puts in is what she’ll get out of something. She doesn’t look for the easy way out. She doesn’t give excuses or complain.”

However, Vanessa’s hard work doesn’t end on the ice rink. She explains that skating is very important to her, but she prioritizes her schoolwork, too. She also says that since she spends so much time at the rink, she tries to incorporate her other hobbies into skating.

“I love doing arts and crafts. I’ll jewel my costumes and even try to sew my dresses,” Vanessa said.

Vanessa’s favorite thing about ice skating is the community that it brings. “The community I’ve been in these past couple of years has been very uplifting,” she said. “I love how everyone supports each other and is happy for each other when they do well.”

Vanessa herself has done a lot to contribute to the ice-skating community in Cache Valley, as she teaches several ice-skating classes for skaters of all ages, including a Utah State University course and classes for the Cache Valley Figure Skating Club. She encourages anyone interested in pursuing ice skating as a hobby or a sport to “stick at it!”

“There are so many times in any sport that you might want to quit, or you feel like the work is just too much,” she said. “But, at the end of the day, if you stick with what you’re doing and keep going, you will eventually look back and see how much it has shaped your life and how much you’ve improved!”

Vanessa’s mother, Heather Bradfield, said “Her dad and I are so proud of her, she has done a great job of honing her skills, which has allowed her to do incredible things like becoming a gold medalist.”

Vanessa already has an impressive skating resume, but she is just getting started! She is continually working toward her success, but she says her biggest goal right now is to help her students grow and succeed, too.