Packed house views Olympic skaters in final hometown practice

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:44 pm | Updated: 4:57 pm, Fri Feb 21, 2014.

ELLENTON, Fla. - Suncoast Olympians Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay make their way to Sochi, Russia on Saturday. The ice skating pair went through their final practice this afternoon before a packed arena at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.

The arena was full of hundreds of supportive fans, filled to capacity shouting “Team U.S.A.” You could really feel the sense of pride this community has for these local skaters who will represent not only the Suncoast, but the entire United States.

Hundreds lined up as early as 10am, traveling from as far as North Port to see the Olympians for the last time before they head to Sochi for the Winter Olympics.

Felicia and Nathan have been skating together for 3 years, and they put on quite a show for the locals Friday, skating to music from Les Miserables.

Other talented medal-winning skaters performed as well. And with the talent that comes out of this rink they hope to someday be Olympians too.

This is not the first time Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex has sent skaters to the Olympics. In 2010, two skating pairs representing Team USA at the Olympic games in Vancouver trained in Ellenton as well.

Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora placed 10th, while Jeremy Barrett and Caydee Denney finished 13th.

Nathan and Felicia this is a dream come true, and they are overwhelmed with the amount of support they felt today.

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