EULESS, Texas (KXAN) — In a low-key location right outside Fort Worth, Texas is the training ground for two Olympic hopefuls.
Ashley Cain, 22, and Timothy LeDuc, 27, spend six days a week on the ice near Cain’s hometown of Coppell. LeDuc is hundreds of miles from his home in Iowa, but says he’s taken to North Texas well.
As the two lace up their skates for a Friday practice, Cain shows off the plastic bags around her feet as she slips them in her boot.
“I always wear the bags now,” Cain explains. “It’s kind of something that’s developed in the past few months, and I can’t skate without them now or else my feet cramp.”
As they walk onto the ice, their coaches go over the plan for the practice. “Let’s go lifts first,” said Peter Cain, Ashley’s dad who’s been her coach since the age of two, along with her mother, Darlene Cain.
“When we walk in the door it’s business, it’s skating, and it’s always been that way,” said Peter, who competed in the 1980 Olympics as a pairs figure skater for Australia.
Now, he’s now guiding the duo their dream.
“Every figure skater wants that moment on Olympic ice so it’s something we’ve worked for really our entire skating career,” said LeDuc.
While he and Cain have been skating most of their lives, they’ve only been doing it together since May of 2016. LeDuc had retired from the sport after the 2014 Olympic trials and was doing ice shows on cruise ships. Cain had split with her previous partner and was competing in singles when a U.S. Figure Skating coach suggested they team up.
“I hadn’t seen him in about two and a half years, and then I got a call,” said Cain.
LeDuc came down to Texas for a tryout on the rink in Euless.
“From the moment we did the first lift-off, it’s what’s called a press lift in pairs skating, it’s the most basic lift that you do,” said LeDuc. “From that moment I knew already that this was going to be something special.”
The two have been to the rink in South Korea where they will be competing if they make the Olympic team, but they’ve got to be the best. Because of past performance, the U.S. is only allowed to send one pairs skating team in February.
“If we get there, we do, but if we don’t we keep moving forward and we have our other goals,” said Cain.
The U.S. has not won an Olympic medal in pairs figure skating since 1988. Cain and LeDuc will continue competing all the way up to the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif. That’s when they’ll find out which pairs team will represent Team USA in the Olympics.