igure skater Lilah Fear’s former PE teacher could well be fighting back tears when she makes her debut at the Winter Olympics.
The London-raised athlete will take to the rink in Beijing this weekend alongside partner Lewis Gibson in the ice dance. The 22-year-old’s former PE teacher at South Hampstead High School told the Standard watching her ex-pupil grace the Olympic ice for the first time will be emotional.
Gemma Cooke said that although the school does not teach ice skating, her natural ability at the sport was clearly apparent from an early age.
“It was obvious, you could tell in her dance,” said the teacher. Fear was born in Connecticut to Canadian parents but moved to London at the age of two, and took up ice skating age five.
She juggled intensive training at Alexandra Palace with being a music scholar and deputy head girl in sixth form.
“Lilah was just very committed, she spent an awful lot of time training, she was great at juggling those commitments,” said Ms Cooke. “She was one of the girls you could always rely on. Netball, cross-country, athletics, she was a real all-rounder.”
Fear, a four-time British national champion, and Gibson, 27, are set to compete in the rhythm dance this weekend, to a medley of songs from the rock band Kiss, and to music from the Lion King in the free dance the following Monday.
The Alexandra Palace Skating Club member has said making the team was “this huge sigh of relief of ‘we did it’, we’re on track to our dreams, everything is worth it”.
Ms Gibson will be cheering the skaters on and said the whole school wished the pair “all the best” in their bid to score a medal.“I really hope she goes out there and proves why she’s there,” she said. “It would be lovely to see her on the podium.”