An 18-year-old Connecticut teen will be competing in the Olympics for Team Australia.
Brooklee Han, 18, grew up in Redding, Conn., has trained in Simsbury and Newington, and will be competing as part of the Australian figure skating team.
“It is something that I have been hoping for my all of my life,” Han said in an article posted on the Australian Olympics Web site.
While Han lives in Connecticut, her father is Australian, according to her biography on the Sochi Olympics Web site.
Han started skating when she was 5 years old, but a week at the famed International Center of Connecticut in Simsbury altered her ice skating path, according to an article in the Daily Voice.
It was at the Simsbury center that Han started working with Serhii Vaypan, a coach who she credits for her success to date.
“After one week there, everything kind of clicked. I ended up working with Serhii and went from a single axel to landing triples. In October of 2009, I was landing triple jumps and won the New England Regional championship, and since then have been competing internationally. The first six years or so were pretty slow. I’m thankful I have Serhii as a coach,” Han told the Daily Voice.
Now, Han frequently trains at the Newington Ice Area. She also trains at the Veterans Memorial Rink in West Hartford, according to the Redding Pilot.
On February 1, the arena celebrated Vaypan and Han heading to the Olympics by forming rings on the ice.
— Newington Ice Arena (@NewingtonArena) February 2, 2014
Han attended Redding Elementary School, John Read Middle School and Joel Barlow High School.
She is focused on the Olympics now, but plans to continue her academic career right here. She has been admitted to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. and deferred enrollment to compete in the games, according to Wesleyan.
When Han is not skating, she is playing violin, and even started a community orchestra. She has also won several academic awards.
“My mom tells a story from when I was 6. … I said, ‘I can compete at the Olympics with horses when I am older, I can play my violin at Carnegie Hall when I am older, but I have to skate in the Olympics now when I am young,’” Han told the Redding Pilot.