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Home Coronavirus Ice queen gets her (roller) skates on! Olympic hopeful Emma Lyons, 12,...

Ice queen gets her (roller) skates on! Olympic hopeful Emma Lyons, 12, has to train in a car park

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When your dream is to skate at the Olympics but Covid-19 closes all the ice rinks, what do you do?

In Emma Lyons’ case, she persuaded her parents to buy her a pair of expensive ‘off ice’ rollerblades and drive her to a deserted retail park three times a week so she could practise.

Since shops reopened, Emma, 12, has become a sensation outside the John Lewis At Home store in Chester, attracting a crowd of staff and customers.

Soaring ambition: Emma Lyons in action at the car park. Emma, who has been skating since she was seven and won bronze at the British Championships last year, had been used to practising for up to six hours a day, five days a week

Soaring ambition: Emma Lyons in action at the car park. Emma, who has been skating since she was seven and won bronze at the British Championships last year, had been used to practising for up to six hours a day, five days a week

The 12-year-old practises her lutzes, salchows and other moves

Since shops reopened, Emma has become a sensation outside the John Lewis At Home store in Chester, attracting a crowd of staff and customers

Tarmac star: The 12-year-old practises her lutzes, salchows and other moves. Since shops reopened, Emma has become a sensation outside the John Lewis At Home store in Chester, attracting a crowd of staff and customers

On the rink: Emma winning bronze at the 2019 British Championships

On the rink: Emma winning bronze at the 2019 British Championships

Emma, who has been skating since she was seven and won bronze at the British Championships last year, had been used to practising for up to six hours a day, five days a week. She admits rollerblading is not quite the same.

‘I’m really at home on the ice, it’s where I feel like I can be my true self,’ she said. 

‘My ambition is to get into the British team and go to the Olympics.

‘Rollerblading is totally different to skating – it hurts a lot more when I fall, but I just wanted to practise my jumps. Falling on ice is bad enough, but falling on tarmac is not a lot of fun.’

Emma’s local rink in Deeside, North Wales, has been turned into a Rainbow field hospital for the NHS and is unlikely to reopen as a leisure centre before the end of next year. 

Her parents David and Lynn are now raising funds so she can travel frome her home in Hawarden to Dundee for weekly sessions with elite coaches Simon and Debi Briggs, who she had been training with once a month before the pandemic.

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