ELLENTON — Festive fans have begun to file into Suds sports bar to root on two pairs figure skating teams whose Olympic dreams began just yardsaway at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.
Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig were still an hour away from performing Sunday evening in Vancouver whentheir pictures appeared on a local newscast.
"There they are!" shouted a group of young girls who turned out for a watch party at the sports bar, which was decorated with American flags for the occasion.
Cora Brewer, an 11-year-old skater who takes lessons from three of the four skaters, sported a T-shirt emblazoned with the red, white and blue.
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"I'm just hoping they skate well," she said. "What they get doesn't really matter as long as they skate well."
Claudia Britt, a 15-year-old Venice High School sophomore, said she is rooting for both pairs. She knows a medal is a long shot, but she'skeeping the faith.
"They're both very amazing," she said. "I hope they skate clean programs, but if the don't I'll still be proud of them because they made their dreams come through."