An ice skating duo, dreaming of performing at the Winter Olympics, are heading out to PyeongChang to get a taste of life at the pinnacle of their art.
Kensington pair Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson are Great Britain and Northern Ireland's first reserves for the ice dance event, meaning they will compete if the British participants pull out.
While Lilah and Lewis, who train six days a week at Kensington Leisure Centre, understand it is unlikely they will see competitive action during the games in South Korea, they have set their sights on participating in the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
Lilah and Lewis fly out on Wednesday (February 14) and are two of seven people who are part of the Team GB Ambition Programme for the Winter Olympics.
The scheme was set up to give young athletes and coaches a chance to taste and experience an Olympics before they themselves compete.
The pair train at the leisure centre in Silchester Road six days a week, working on ballet and choreography, weight training, cardio and other off-ice activities.
Lilah, 18, who went to Pembridge Hall School in Notting Hill, was born in America but moved to the area aged two. Her 23-year-old dance partner is from Scotland but moved to Kensington to train with Lilah.
They will travel with to South Korea with other competing Team GB athletes and stay in the Olympic Village: “We'll be there for a week getting a taste of what it's like so we don't get stage fright when we attend," said Lewis.
“Our goal is to participate in the 2022 Olympics and we're training towards that.
This programme allows young athletes know what to expect.
“It will help us deal with unknown factors such as the size of the crowds at an Olympic Games and the logistics," he added.
Lilah paid tribute to the facilities at the leisure centre, which is run on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council by GLL.
“It's been very helpful having access to the huge amount of different studios that we would not have have access too otherwise," said Lilah.
They have also have been supported by funding and mentoring through the GLL Sport Foundation, which works with the council to help young athletes reach their potential.
Lewis added: “We want to thank the foundation and Kensington and Chelsea for having these facilities and allowing us to pursue our dream of competing in the Olympics.
Other young athletes in Kensington and Chelsea inspired by Lilah and Lewis’s story can apply for the same support through the GLL Foundation.
Applications for funding are open until Tuesday February 20. Find out more about support for young athletes and how to apply here.
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