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Figure Skater Rachael Flatt's Winning Ways

Olympic contender Flatt shares her diet, workout, and more.

How do you handle setbacks - for instance, if you’re not happy with your performance, how do you shake it off and move on?

Part of maturing as an athlete is learning from setbacks or less than optimal performances.  Sometimes we watch videos of performances and analyze the programs for technical or performance errors.  If you aren't willing to put the work into improving, maybe it's time to move on to something else in your life. 

With all your training, how do you avoid injury?

I have had a number of injuries over the years, including torn ligaments, sprained ankles, concussions, and bulging discs in my lower back.  The trick is to learn to listen to your body -- learn what are the daily aches and pains and what is not normal. 

My coach has a three-day rule of thumb: If you are still hurting three days after the initial injury and you did not pursue seeing a physical therapist or doctor, then it's time to follow up with a medical professional.

You make skating look effortless - and no doubt, the artistry is something you work very hard on. Do you think that’s something that people are born with or they can learn?

For me, I would have to say my love of skating is innate, but as [figure skating legend] Dorothy Hamill always tells me, I must work hard in order to achieve results and truly enjoy myself. So I think that people can learn if they put in the hard work and I also think this applies to most things in life, not only skating.  

What are your plans after high school?

I will keep skating -- it's my first love -- but I am also planning on attending college.  I have applied to nine colleges and am anxiously awaiting to hear what schools have accepted my applications.

We hear you want to be a doctor or maybe a vet. Why, and do you have a specialty in mind?

I have become more interested in engineering in the last few years, so maybe chemical engineering or biomechanical engineering, sports medicine -- so perhaps medical school. 

What do you do for fun?

I like to hang out with my friends, watch movies, go to school dances, play tennis, go to the beach -- normal teenage stuff.   

Do you have a “guilty pleasure” food and if so, what is it?

Well, I love Italian food.  So, pretty much anything Italian! 

What advice do you have for teen athletes who want to improve their skills?

Practice, practice, practice!  Working hard and practicing has made me the skater that I am today.  

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