Too old to get started as a competitive figure skater?

I have seen this question asked often on figure skating and other forums. "I am 11 years old, is that two late to start if I want to be a competitive figure skater?" or "My son/daughter is 9 years old, is it too late for them to become a competitive figure skater?

When my daughter started skating at the age of 10, a parent at the rink commented that she was "starting too late" and that "competitive skaters need to start when they are 3-5 years old." Another comment I have heard more than once is that "a figure skater needs to have all their doubles by age 12." Don't believe any of these comments if you hear them. Don't get me wrong starting late means working harder to catch up however there are other factors to consider. Do you have some natural abilities, good balance, coordination, and flexibility? How hard are you willing to work?

Many elite skaters started when they were very young, around 5 years old, but here are some examples of very successful competitive skaters that started later:

Johnny Weir started figure skating when he was 12 years old. He is 3 time US national champion, 2001 World Junior Champion, 2008 World bronze medallist, and placed fifth at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

Dick Button began skating seriously when he was 12 years old after his father overheard him being told he would never be a good skater. He was seven time US national champion, five time world figure skating champion, and won two olympic gold medals.

Miki Ando started figure skating at age 9. She has won World figure skirting titles, Japanese Championship titles, and is the first and only female skater to complete a quadruple jump successfully in competition.

Peggy Fleming started figure skating when she was 9 years old. She went on to win three world championships, five US figure skating championships, and won the gold at the 1968 winter olympics,

Sasha Cohen
started figure skating when she was 7 years old. Cohen is one of the most popular skaters of the past ten years. She won gold at the 2003 ISU grand prix finals, medals at three world figure skating championships, and was one of the first women to land a quadruple jump (in a practice session)

Michael Weiss started figure skating at age 9. Michael is a 3 Time U.S. National Champion, 2 time world bronze medallist, and a member of U.S. Olympic team. He is the first American man to land a quad toe loop in competition and also the first American to land a quad toe loop in a short program. He is also among the first to have earned the U.S. and World Junior Champion and U.S. Senior Champion titles.

  Never be discouraged by what others say about you figure skating skills, age, or abilities. Let these comments fuel your drive to prove them wrong. Set a goal to be the first figure skater that started at 13 to win the world figure skating championships or make the olympic team.
  Every country has a track that for adult skaters. There are learn to skate adult programs, and training camps just for adults. There are adult test tracks, and competitions as well. There is even a USFS national adult championship held every year.
  You are never too old to figure skate. The sport of figure skating involves a lot of stamina, flexibility and strength. If the aim is to compete at international or world standards then really the sooner you can get onto the ice the better. Figure skating is an enjoyable way to get fit and have a lot of fun as well. It is freedom. It is exciting. Anyone at any age can enjoy figure skating.
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