From Bare feet to figure skates: how a young girl fell in love with figure skating

Aspen skating at a competition to Harry Potter music – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

With the dream of one day going to the Olympics for figure skating, eight-year-old Aspen Jacobi is well on her way on that journey.

Stepping onto the ice at the age of two was Jacobi’s first time ever on the slippery surface.

“I begged my mom to take me so I could skate like Elsa. I loved it so much that I kept doing it,” said Jacobi.

Aspen putting skates on for the very first time – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

Fast forward to two years later, Jacobi officially began competing on the ice.

“I was in the Snowplow Sam level.  I skated to Under the Sea,” said Jacobi.

Now as an eight-year-old, Jacobi trains five days a week for an hour or two. During competition season, she trains a little bit more.

When her family moved to South Carolina, Jacobi began getting coached by Sandy Lenz Jackson, an Olympic medalist.

“My favorite thing about her is that she teaches me at least one new thing every lesson.  She is very nice and makes learning fun,” said Jacobi.

In July, Jacobi’s mother’s, TikTok account, @djac0bi, has been growing in popularity due to the videos Dakota posts of her daughter’s figure skating journey.

Aspen competing in a competition at the age of five – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

One video Dakota posted, back in July, tapped out at 39.9 million views and 10.6 million likes. The video shows Jacobi stepping onto the ice as a two-year-old and it flashes through all six years of her life so far as she is seen skating on the ice at each age.

Jacobi is also a very determined girl. Recently, she set a goal for herself to start training for her Axel, a jump in which a figure skater springs themselves into the air off of bent knees, by Christmas.

Aspen with a gold medal in her very first season competing – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

In order to start training for her axel, Jacobi had to learn three other jumps. When she had learned those three jumps, her Axel goal changed to wanting to get it by Christmas.

On December 23, Jacobi landed her axel for the very first time outside of the training harness.

“I felt very proud of myself and couldn’t believe it,” said Jacobi.

The Axel is one of figure skating’s oldest and most difficult jumps.

“Everything was hard. It is really scary because you’re spinning really fast and you feel like you can fall. There’s a lot to remember to land it but the jump happens so quickly. I just keep telling myself to jump first, then spin, then land,” said Jacobi about her training for the jump.

Aspen with her gold medal following her skate to the Harry Potter music – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

Aside from on-ice training, Jacobi also has off-ice training among the five days she spends at the rink.

“I have ballet on Saturdays and have off-ice harness spin training too every week.  I work out at home on the days I don’t go to the rink and do a lot of spinning on my spin board at home and off-ice jumps,” said Jacobi.

Back in September, Jacobi competed for the first time since COVID, and won a gold medal.

The competition was one in which the other girls in Jacobi’s category were older and bigger than her.

Jacobi wore a white dress and skated to the theme music of Harry Potter. Essentially, she was a human form of Hedwig, flying around the ice.

“I was really nervous because the other girls were so much older than me but I remembered everything I needed to do and focused on the little things. My favourite part was winning a gold medal even though everyone was older than me. I was super proud. And I got to add another gold medal to my collection,” said Jacobi.

Figure skating has taught Jacobi many lessons that she has been applying to her figure skating as well as life.

“It has taught me to never give up. It has taught me that hard work goes a long way and to always keep pushing myself. My mom says I am really good at setting goals for myself and working hard until I reach those goals,” said Jacobi.

Aspen skated at the Greensboro Symphony Show at the age of four – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

Jacobi’s favourite thing about figure skating is all the spins and jumping she can do.

“I love everything about it. I do love spinning a lot. My favourite spin is the cannonball spin. My favourite jump is my lutz-loop combination, because it feels like I never stop rotating,” said Jacobi.

Aspen during her first season competing – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

In Jacobi’s words, she feels like a fan on high speed when she is spinning around on the ice.

Looking forward to the future, Jacobi’s dream is to go to the Olympics.

“I am hoping to go to the Olympics and win a gold or a silver medal. I would like to do Disney On Ice and also be a coach as well in the future,” said Jacobi.

At the age of 3, Aspen passed the USFSA evaluation – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

Right now though, Jacobi will be focusing on her competitions for this season and enjoying every moment of her figure skating.

“Everything is so fun about it. I love the dresses, especially sparkly ones. When I compete, I feel nervous, but when I am done, I feel proud.”

Aspen at her figure skating holiday show this year – Photo provided by Dakota Jacobi

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