Thousands of north Texans doing their last minute shopping got a chance to see an Olympic hopeful Saturday. Figure skater Ashley Wagner is back after competing in Russia. She spent Saturday afternoon entertaining the crowds at the Galleria in Dallas.
For Ashley Wagner the art of gliding on ice has become second nature so much so that the 21-year-old is a now leading contender for a spot in the 2014 Winter Olympics U.S. team.
"To finally feel like I'm this close to accomplishing my dreams is amazing," Wagner said.
Her dreams becoming a reality began with her mother when she was 5-years-old.
“She enrolled me in a mommy and me class, she lasted one class and i lasted 16 years," Wagner recalls.
In those 16 years, Wagner’s accomplishments are remarkable including being named this year's national figure skating champion. She attributes it to her passion for the sport and others have noticed.
"It's not always about the tricks or the elements or how hard or difficult jump she does,” David Kirby an official with World & Olympic Figure Skating said. “Ashley has the ability to really emote from inside."
Wagner is loved by all--from the youngest of fans to teenagers who look up to her.
"She's been a good inspiration because I saw her win nationals,” Kayle Bragg an aspiring Olympic figure skater said. ”She's a really good skater."
Wagner’s message to young aspiring figure skaters?
"It's just figure skating and if you do it because you love it and you enjoy it you're going to be much more successful than getting your head wrapped up around the idea of competing," Wagner said.