While reading Olivia Yao’s resume, one expects to meet someone in her mid to late 20’s based on accomplishments she has amassed so far. On a weekly basis, this high-school senior dedicates 30 + hours to activities which include robotics, symphony practice, presenting at conferences, collaborating with Ice Theatre of New York, and coaching Essex Special Skaters. Beginning her figure skating journey at 4 years old with the Essex Learn to Skate program, she excelled so rapidly, that she passed basic skill 1 to FS 2 in one year. By the age of 8, she had completed Senior Moves in the Field. Olivia is among one of the youngest in the US to achieve this. Not surprisingly, she is a double gold medalist in both disciplines.
Olivia’s academic achievements are nothing short of extraordinary, and include multiple scholarship awards, of which 11 were awarded from the Essex Skating Club of New Jersey. Her most recent is an appointment to the prestigious U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team. Her appointment was recognized at the USFS Championships in St. Paul, MN. Among only ten recipients in the nation, Olivia was awarded a $2,500 scholarship and an additional $1,000 from U.S. Figure Skating, the Pioneer Fund and the Denver Foundation, to be awarded to her favorite charity, Essex Special Skaters.
Olivia’s figure skating performances are not exclusively competitions. She has performed in multiple charity skating events since 2009. I can only think of the words desire and selflessness when I think of Olivia. With a competitive spirit and desire to achieve, there is a beautiful selflessness as well, which is evident by her giving back to her community through her sport with the artistry of her exhibition performances. Our club is immensely proud of Olivia.