Pompano Beach’s Briley Pizzelanti hopes her Italian heritage will lead her to an Olympic medal someday in figure skating.
The 16-year-old Pizzelanti, who recently completed her sophomore year at Boca Prep International School, has a goal of getting her Italian citizenship, getting on the Italian national team and doing some competitions for them in the junior division.
“Hopefully, I will do really well for them and then maybe compete for them at the senior level and then go to Worlds in the junior and the senior division,” said Pizzelanti, who won the Junior Ladies Freestyle (Unrestricted) Division at the Sunshine State Games Figure Skating competition at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs.
“I’d like to make the Olympics someday,” Pizzelanti said. “I love skating so much. It is such a big part of my life and, to be able to go out and skate for my country, would be amazing.”
Pizzelanti said her school schedule (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) enables her to skate more.
“It helps a lot,” Pizzelanti said. “I am able to skate for two hours in the morning and then an hour in the afternoon. I am also able to do dryland training.
“I love everything about skating. I love being able to train really, really hard all year and then be able to go out and show everyone what I have been practicing and how hard I have been practicing all year.”
Pizzelanti, who has been skating since she was 4, struggled in the warm-ups and was noticeably upset prior to her routine. She was able to put it all behind her and skate a clean program.
“I have been working a lot on that the last couple of years,” Pizzelanti said. “My mom has also coached me on that. She says whenever you have mistakes in the warmup, the competition is a totally different event and you can’t go by what you did in the warm-up.”
There were nearly 400 skaters from around the state – the largest competition ever in the Games. “The numbers of skaters from Florida and the southeast who competed last year at the regionals was extremely large,” said Betty Stark, who has served as sports director for figure skating at the Games for the past 26 years. “I think that has helped the sport gain exposure.”
“It has highlighted the sport and now people are saying those kids from Florida are good,” Stark added. “The coaches are doing a great job and the level of skating over the years has really improved.”