Submitted by: Andrew Bai
Ninth grader Andrew Bai has figure skated almost his entire life. Starting at the young age of six, Bai is now one of the nation’s best of his generation. Bai only began figure skating because his sister wanted to. Bai’s sister, Annie, started figure skating at age four. She begged Andrew to skate with her so they could start together, and Bai gave in. Little did he know that years later, he would be competing on a national level, partnering and duetting with Annie.
Recently, at the Midwestern Figuring Skating Sectional Championships in Juvenile Pairs, Bai and his sister won the event. Additionally, the siblings received six U.S. Figure Skating Special Achievement awards for high scores and judge’s recognition in six categories. Their first-place performance allowed them to compete in the National Championship in Dallas, Texas, at the end of November.
Although they did not perform as well as they had hoped, they will continue to work towards their goal of someday winning the National Pairs. To reach this goal, Andrew and Annie practice every single weekday for two and a half hours. “I start off by warming up off-ice, and then I get on the ice and work on my singles, and then I work on my pairs,” he said.
Spending such a significant time on the ice practicing and improving leaves little time for Bai to focus on schoolwork. Having a routine that allows Bai to balance his figure skating and his studying is crucial, especially in an intense working environment like Saint Paul Academy. “It feels like a lot of time [practicing], but when I’m off-ice, like running on a treadmill or elliptical, I’ll try to do homework while doing stuff like that,” he said.
As soon as Bai gets home from school, he gets straight to work, because shortly after he leaves for figure skating. “It’s an exhausting routine, but to be able to maintain success in both important aspects of my life, I need to have this balance between the two,” he said.
Bai is also a new student, joining the Class of 2023 at the beginning of the year. Even with both figure skating and schoolwork, Bai still finds time to be social. “Although I’m not too close with Andrew, we have a study hall together, and I like spending time with him. He is a really nice kid, and it is visible that figure skating is extremely important to him,” Mikey Barshack, a fellow 9th grader, said.
Bai is an accomplished figure skater and a successful student, showing how even with a busy schedule it is possible to balance the time spent on what is important to you. Look out for the name Andrew Bai in the 2026 Winter Olympics.