On the ice, 15-year-old Cate Fleming is a medal-winning pairs figure skater. Off the ice, she’s a Laurel Springs sophomore who’s passionate about skiing, art, movies, and secret family recipes. While skating takes up most of her time—when she’s not perfecting her burger recipe—Cate has found ways to make a difference in her community and her sport.
Skating Since She Could Stand
Cate has been a figure skater since age two. It was inevitable since her grandmother, mother, and sister are all skaters as well. While she started competing solo at age six, she decided to pair up with a fellow figure skater a few years later. Four U.S. Championship medals isn’t the only accolade Cate can claim. She was also the youngest U.S. athlete who competed at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland.
While Cate enjoys competing in single events where she’s “in [her] own headspace”, she also appreciates having someone else there for support. “Competing on my own, it’s all me and I can really lure in the judges to my program and my music. When I’m doing pairs, we can tell a story together. Each is a really different way of performing, but I like both.”
More than Medals
In addition to all the championship medals Cate has received, she’s also the proud recipient of the 2020 Athlete Alumni Ambassador (3A) Award. This isn’t just about athletic performance, but also what Cate has accomplished off the ice. “To qualify for it, I had to be skating at the Junior level, and they wanted to see…who was most involved in their community and would be the best ambassador for the sport…” Cate’s involvement in a therapeutic skating program and participation in various benefit events are just a few examples of how she gives back through her sport. As the chosen pairs ambassador, Cate received a scholarship and a bolstered responsibility for speaking out about making skating more diverse. She plans to help raise funds for the Diversify Ice Foundation—an organization that sponsors and mentors underrepresented figure skaters.
Through it all, Cate remains committed to her schoolwork and finding the right balance between learning and training. Laurel Springs remains committed to helping her make this happen. “Being in Laurel Springs helps me train in the middle of the day which helps prevent injury because I am training when I am not tired.” In addition to the flexible schedule, Cate is also learning how to adapt to online learning. “That first month was going really well because I had direction and deadlines, but as soon as quarantine started it was a little more difficult to find motivation. I learned how to set due-dates for myself even when I didn’t have assignments due, and really how to study without a study guide. I had to become a more independent student, which will really help me in college.”
So, what about college? “Well, I’m only a sophomore, but hopefully with my skating career I can complete high school and possibly take a gap year to complete my skating goals… College has always been on my horizon since I was a little kid, so I can’t wait to go… I’m excited that Laurel Springs is allowing me to balance my dreams in sport and school.”