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Utah skater Angela Wang sets course for 2018 Winter Games

Salt Lake City’s Angela Wang, 16, who trains in Colorado Springs, has her sights set on the 2018 Games.

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Laixin Wang recalled how his daughter "begged" for skating lessons after that first experience at the County Ice Center, and joked that in the beginning, he and his wife — they emigrated from China in 1994 — just wanted to keep her busy.

"Unfortunately," he said, "she chose the most expensive sport out of all the ones she tried."

At a glance

A closer look at SLC native Angela Wang

» Figure skater finished ninth at recent U.S. Figure Skating Championships. » Won JGP Croatia event last season, and was fourth at JGP Final. » Born and raised in Salt Lake City, lives and trains in Colorado Springs.

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Wang also excelled at gymnastics when she was younger, but gave that up to more seriously pursue figure skating when she was about 10 years old.

"We just do the best we can do to support her," Laixin Wang added. "It has been tough both financially and mentally for the family splitting, but we are very grateful for getting lots of support from friends in both Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs."

With her season over, Wang has been focused on choreographing new routines for next season, when she hopes to improve her consistency in the short program, where she suffers nerves too often. Krall said their big focus is on the artistic side — "that’s where she’s going to break out more and more," she said — since athleticism is not a problem.

Wang performs triple-jumps with ease, and is one of just a few female competitors who perform a triple-Lutz, triple-toe loop and a double-toe loop in combination. No surprise, perhaps, given Wang’s obsession from an early age.

"I just remember that I wanted to jump," she said. "I wanted to skate backwards. I don’t know if it came easily to me, but I just know I was really driven and I really wanted it. I was very stubborn about it. … I think I like skating because I just kept on wanting to improve."

Improve, she has.

Wang finished fourth at the Junior Grand Prix final last season, after winning the JGP Croatia event and finishing third in the JGP United States competition. She’s expected to learn her first JGP assignment for next season in June, and will earn more if she performs well.

After that … who knows?

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Wang hopes to move into the senior ranks in the next year or two, and it’s not inconceivable that time and practice and patience forge her into one of the top American medal hopes for 2018.

For now, though, Wang is happy enough seeing how far she has come, without obsessing too much about how much farther she has to go.

"Just seeing how far I’ve come, that’s a reward in itself," she said. "Just knowing that I started from nothing and I’m here now. I never would have imagined I’d be in Colorado Springs when I first stepped on the ice. It’s just crazy. And just seeing everything come together and then seeing your hard work pay off, like just having a good performance at a competition."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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