He is impressive to watch. 20-year-old Evan Bender has been skating at Downtown Reno's Rink on the River since he was 5 years old and now he recently spun his way into nationals.
He makes it all look so effortless with his long legs that spin so fast they blend into one. "When I step on the ice I just feel completely free and when you nail a jump right, there is no feeling like it." His moves are as elegant as a dancer but Evan does it all on thin blades, "your heart rate is going, your breathing super heavy but your loving every second of it."
This love of skating started for Evan when he was just five years old, "the first time I ever skated was at this rink (on the river) right here. I would go out in the center of the rink and try and copy what the good skaters were doing."
When Evan was young, he would try to pull off big boy stunts from day one. His mom who supports his every spin suggested he sign up for a class. "We went to Total Sports in Sparks and I got a group lesson and loved it and it went from there."
Evans has been skating up to 3 hours, 5 days a week for well over a decade now. He admits going up to South Lake Tahoe's rink for year-round practicing was a bit of a challenge. "It was really difficult in middle and high school because I was getting up at 3:45 in the morning to go before school and coming back down and having a full school day."
Now he's a sophomore at UCLA majoring in psycho-biology and on a pre-med track. Extremely busy at school, Evan still finds time to skate for his collegiate team and also in national competitions.
In fact, his dedication is finally earning him a top spot.
Evan just became a top 4 figure skater at the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships. He will soon skate against the 12 best male solo figure skaters in the country in January for National Championships.
He ultimately has his eyes set on the Olympic team to compete in South Korea in the 2018 Winter Games.
Proof that when you persevere, you remain on point.
Written by Neda Iranpour