Two local teenagers are off to take part in the World Synchronised Skating Championships in Italy in April.
Aimee Grimwood, from Bowden Place in Downend, and Hannah Fordham, from Poplar Road in Hanham, are both 16 and skate for Wales & West Synchronised Skating Club.
They are in the senior competitive team – Team Spirit – which has been selected to represent Great Britain at the championships at Courmayeur on 4th and 5th April alongside other elite skaters from around the world.
The girls’ training programme is gruelling, particularly since Bristol’s ice skating rink closed in 2012 and was demolished to make way for student flats. The girls travel to Cardiff and Swindon several times a week, including a very early start where they skate before going on to school.
Both girls are studying for A-levels, with Hannah attending the City Academy in St George and Aimee in the sixth form at Downend School.
Even though they are representing their country, the girls – and their parents who take them to their training sessions and to championships both at home and abroad – get no grants towards their sport.
Coinciding with the Sochi Games in Russia, a campaign has been launched to get synchronised skating recognised at Olympic level. Supporters have started a petition which will be delivered to the International Olympic Committee, calling for synchronised skating to become an Olympic event at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in South Korea in 2018.
The petition is on the Change.org website and currently there are more than 12,000 supporters.
If anyone is interested in sponsoring Aimee and Hannah email email@example.com