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Redding Figure Skater Keeps Sights Set On College, Olympics

Brooklee Han represented Australia in the ladies figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Brooklee Han represented Australia in the ladies figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Photo Credit: File Photo

REDDING, Conn. — Brooklee Han, a 2013 graduate of Joel Barlow High School, always knew that she wanted to be a figure skater.

When she was just a toddler, her mom took her to Stars on Ice. 

“I would sit there as a 2-, 3-year-old and was just enthralled,” Han, who grew up in Redding, recently told the Daily Voice. “I told my mom, ‘I want to do that.’”

And skate she has.

Han reached the height of sport, representing Australia in ladies figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She currently balances studying at Wesleyan University with a demanding training regimen as she continues to pursue her skating dreams. 

On a typical day, Han wakes up at 5 a.m. and heads to the rink for one-and-a-half to two hours of work on the ice. Next, she heads to class. But the day is far from over.

After studying on campus, she travels back to the rink for another practice session and sometimes stops at the gym on the way.

Han said her professors were generally understanding when she had to submit assignments by email or make up tests over the past year.

“My professors were happy I was pursuing my education while I was pursuing my passion,” Han said of her freshman year experience of living on campus in Middletown and training in nearby Newington.

For her second year at Wesleyan, she plans to live off-campus to ease the difficulty of traveling between campus and the rink.

Even with the demands of studying at a prestigious school and training as an elite athlete, Han still manages to socialize on the weekends. 

For the new skating season, Han plans to skate to the soundtrack of the 2012 movie “Dans La Maison" for her short program. She said she likes her new music. 

“It’s different from what I've done before, but I still feel comfortable to skating to it,” Han said.

For her long program, she is skating to Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending.”

“It’s another beautiful piece of music,” she said, “It’s a lot of fun to skate to as well.”

In the future, Han said she has her eyes on competing in the Olympics in 2018 in South Korea. But, she said, “there’s a lot of work between now and then.”

Beyond college, Han said she hopes to work in sports journalism or work as a sports researcher. 

Han has many miles of competition and traveling ahead of her before then. This fall, Han will kick off her season at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September in Salt Lake City.

She also hopes to make a stop at her favorite competition, Nebelhorn Trophy, in Oberstdorf, Germany, at the end of September.  

“It’s just an incredible, beautiful place in The Alps,” Han said. “The rink there is fantastic. I love going there.”

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