AFFTON, Mo. (KSDK) - For Barbie Long, skating isn't a hobby, or even a job: it's a passion. It's a passion that started at a friend's birthday party when the Affton native was just four years old. Thirteen years later, that passion hasn't faded.
"There's just so much to learn," Long said.
And she's doing everything she can to learn it all. For the past six years, Barbie has been living with her coach in Springfield, Ill.Monday through Friday. She comes home on the weekends for another day of skating on Saturday.
"…and then I don't skate Sunday. And then it just starts all over!" Long said.
And all that hard work is paying off. This was Barbie's first year at senior nationals, and she came in seventh. Right away, she knew the performance would be a game-changer.
"It's like five minutes changes your whole life," Long said.
And for Barbie, the road doesn't end here. She's just beginning a full year of elite competition, with hopes of gaining a spot on Team USA in 2018. It's the lifelong dream of a girl with a passion to skate.
"I don't even know how to explain it, it's crazy. It's awesome to know that everyone's cheering for you and everyone's watching. It's so nice to know all your hard work is worth it," Long said.