For young Amanda Custode, skating is very important. After all, she's been doing it since she was four. During this year's Badger State Games, however, she's been thinking of someone who isn't in the stands.
"My mom," nods the nine-year-old skater, her dark pigtails bobbing up and down, "how much I miss her."
Since she's recovering from a major surgery, Amanda's mom can't be at the rink to watch her. But that doesn't mean she's far from Amanda's heart.
"I want to try to win a gold medal one day 'cuz my mom wants me to," said Amanda.
Amanda says she hopes she skates well, because her mom will be watching her from the TV in her room at the hospital.
"Because she doesn't get to watch me skate very often," Amanda said.
According to Amanda's coach, her mother's got plenty to look forward to. That's because he says Amanda's got a future that could be bright enough to lead her to the Olympics someday.
"She has her goals," said Gizo Bliadze a national high-level coach from Germany, "even if she's so young, and I think she will do her best."
But he says it takes more than desire alone to succeed in the competitive world of figure skating. Bliadze says support from the family is also important.
And as long as mom is cheering her on. From wherever she may be, Amanda says that part of the Olympic formula is as good as hers.
"She believes in me," smiles Amanda.
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