At first glance, Palo Alto High School senior Sara Billman looks much like the rest of Paly’s student body. She has blond hair and green eyes. She goes to class and does her homework. Like most seniors, she’s still waiting to hear back from colleges. But, unlike most seniors, or any other Paly students, Billman competes in international ice skating competitions.
Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2 Billman competed for the Kempen Trophy in Turnhout, Belgium.
“It was an international competition so there are skaters there from all over the world,” she said.
Billman, who has been skating since age three, believes the sport has really helped shape her life.
“Honestly I cannot remember a day without skating,” Billman said. “If you took skating away from me, I wouldn’t be myself. Skating is more than an athletic sport. It is my passion and has instilled me with great lessons… Skating has affected every decision in my life some way, and has contributed towards shaping my interests. I want to go into sports medicine and nutrition and skating has been something that has exposed me to both… Skating has taught me about commitment, persistence and time management.”
Somehow Billman manages to balance her skating with school, homework and other extra circulars.
“My life outside skating is pretty busy,” she said. “I go to the gym often, I also have interning a couple times a week. The program is called Vivamos Activivos and is through the School of Medicine at Stanford. I also am involved in volunteer work.”
Billman also makes sure to set time aside for family and friends.
“I love being with my amazing friends and family,” she said. “My sister is a national team synchronized swimmer so we motivate each other and my friends are all extremely talented but it’s awesome because we are all so supportive of each other.”
Billman is not sure what her future will hold, but she is positive skating will stay a central part of her life.
“The majority of the colleges I applied to have skating teams that compete intercollegiately,” she said. “Some teams are much better than others but, because of the location of the schools I applied to, mostly all provide me with adequate rinks for training. Where I end up at college will depend a lot in exactly what I do next in skating but I know for sure skating will definitely be part of my life.”