SYDNE VOGEL, 17, World Junior Figure Skating champion
During one intense practice session years ago, ice-skater Sydne Vogel skated so hard and fast, she got frostbite on the tips of her fingers. Lately, the quietly determined Alaskan teen has been moving just as quickly through the ranks of her world-class competitors. In November, Vogel won first place—and $10,000—at the 1997 World Junior Figure Skating competition in Seoul, and this week she travels to Nashville, where she faces defending titleholder Michelle Kwan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Secret weapon: “Before the long program, I bring in…[instant] oatmeal and eat two packets with a little brown sugar on top. I guess it helps. I have a lot of energy.”
Role model: Japanese skater Midori Ito, who in 1988 became the first woman to perform the triple axel in competition, at a national championship in Tokyo.
Odyssey: Born in Anchorage, where father Dennis runs a fire sprinkler company; one older brother in military school. Began playing hockey at 4, figure skating at 6. Since September 1995, she and mother Joy have rented a two-story house overlooking the Colorado Springs World Arena where Vogel now trains year-round.
Low point: “I sort of lost interest in skating for about half a year. Then I came back at 7, and I’ve been going and going.”
Vitals: 5’6″, 115 lbs. No steady boyfriend: “I don’t really have time for [dating]. I don’t worry about it.”
Routine: Three and a half hours of ice time daily; weight-training and ballet for an hour each three times a week; 30 minutes to an hour of daily cardiovascular workouts on her home Nordic Track.
Favorite food: Pomegranates: “I could eat three or four a day.”
Off the ice: Studies with a tutor; also trying to learn German from a CD-ROM; current favorite book: My Sergei: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva.
Next up: A high school diploma. And “I’m shooting for making the [Olympic] team in 1998 and winning the gold in 2002…. It would be cool to go to the White House.”