Former St Francis Xavier's College student to realise her Olympic dream

“I love skating. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Really, it’s just living a daily dream everyday.”

That’s according to Olympic hopeful, Kailani Craine, who was born in Newcastle and graduated from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton in 2016.

She says that being chosen to compete in the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018 and making her Winter Olympics debut is a dream come true.

Going for glory at the Winter Olympics

Kailani, who is 19, is making her final preparations for what will be her first-ever appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

When asked how she felt about making her debut at the Winter Olympics, she said: “I feel amazing. I don’t even think there are words to describe how amazing this whole experience is and it hasn’t even begun yet.

“It’s literally the only thing I’ve ever wanted in my life - to go to the Olympics,” says Kailani who started skating when since she was 8.

Realising her dream at Pyeongchang 2018

As young children, we all grow up with dreams in our hearts and, with heads full of the trappings of our future successes, we are encouraged to strive to live out those dreams. For Kailani, her hard work and the years she spent on the ice have paid off, and she is getting the chance she has always dreamt of.

Speaking of her time as a young, burgeoning athlete growing up in Newcastle, Kailani says her love of figure skating was fostered through countless hours spent out on the ice.

“I just liked doing laps around the ice rink and trying harder things. I just enjoyed it, and I still do. I think that’s why I’ve been so successful and have gone so far quickly, because I just really enjoy what I do every day, and it doesn’t feel like a job at all.”

With the start of the Olympics just a few days away, Kailani said: “Being at the Winter Olympics is the only thing I’ve ever wanted in my life. I’ve achieved that - and that’s why, if anyone has a dream or goal, it can be achieved with enough hard work and dedication. At the end of the day it really comes down to you and your work ethic. If you really want something, you’re going to get it.”

Working hard and going for gold

Like any skill, the mastery of figure skating, and the level of excellence Kailani has been able to achieve takes time, dedication, hard work and a hefty dose of talent. The journey to become a prestigious athlete competing at the highest level was one marked by intense workouts and hours of practice. More than that, Kailani says it was mentally trying as well.

“Last season I couldn’t really understand why some competitions didn’t go how I wanted them to go, because I had put all the work in, and the practices were great,” Kailani says.

“I changed a lot of things this year in my training to help me with that. I’m so much calmer; I think I’m just more mature, and I learn things every competition and every day in training.

“I think figure skating is all an experience game. Every year I feel better with competing, and I know how to handle my emotions. It’s learning to control how you feel, and stay present.

“I’m completely honest about my feelings, of how I feel with my coaches. I tell them how I’m feeling, if I’m feeling really nervous, or if I feel great.

“You just have to be where you are in the moment.”

Competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics

The Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics will be taking place in Pyeongchang Olympics Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea on 9 February, 2018.

The live broadcast of the event will begin at 10PM (AEDT). Countless people from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will be able to tune in and watch as our own Olympic hopeful takes part in the Athlete’s Parade before taking to the ice in Ladies’ Singles Short and the Ladies’ Singles Free competitions on 21 and 23 February.

“I’m just doing what I do every day, running the same thing, trying to get a little bit more presentation,” Kailani says of her Olympic strategy.

“Really, all the work is already done. I usually shake before competing, I’m that nervous but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It makes me feel human, and I wouldn’t do anything else,” she adds.

As Kailani heads to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, she has the support of not only the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, but the entire nation of Australia.

While she is grateful to have the support of the entire nation behind her, It is the support of her family for which she is most thankful.

“It’s not just my work, it’s my family’s hard work as well,” Kailani says.

“They’ve sacrificed just as much as me. I’m so grateful; they’ve given up so much to get me where I am today, and I will never forget that.”

Kailani has won six senior international medals including a gold at the 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy which is held in Germany each year. She has also won four Australian national championships and is the reigning Australian national champion.

We hope you, the reader, will join all of us in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in cheering Kailani on as she makes her Winter Olympics debut in Pyeongchang 2018.