AMHERST - Hannah Doucette knew she would see an Olympic medalist at summer skating camp. What she didn't know was that she would get three lessons by her.
The nine-year-old member of the Amherst Skating Club spent the month of July with the Gloucester Skating Club's summer program and had three of her on-ice lessons taught by 1988 silver medalist Elizabeth Manley.
"I really like getting lessons with Elizabeth Manley. She's fun and funny, and I like everything about her," said Doucette.
During the program that ran July 6 to 30, Doucette worked on her spins and jumps on ice four days a week, while also having off-ice lessons in areas such as ballet, core strength, flexibility and jumping.
"We worked on my axel a lot, and I almost landed it," said Doucette.
Since she was three-years-old, Doucette's had an interest in figure skating, which her mother says comes naturally to her. In her first year of skating, Hannah was named the CanSkate champion.
"When you're watching her out on the ice, you can tell she has fun with it and that she's passionate about it," said Doucette's mom, Shawna.
During the summer program, Doucette said Manley recognized her name from a seminar in Bedford when she was eight, the same age Shawna was when Manley captured the silver medal at the Olympics in Calgary.
"When we found out Hannah would be meeting Elizabeth at the seminar, we showed her videos of her skating at the 1988 Olympics, so she was already exposed to Elizabeth before she met her and skated with her," added Shawna.
Manley, said Shawna, is a great instructor for the young skaters.
"It's almost as if she gets down to their level. There's always a lot of laughing going on between her and the skater," she said.
Along with Manley, Doucette spent her days coached by Darlene Joseph, Krista Smith and Cathy Skinner.
Joseph said Doucette worked hard both on and off the ice during those four weeks.
"She was a great addition to our team of skaters," she added. "Her hard work ethic and passion for skating really inspired us."
To catch Hannah on the ice, the Amherst Skating Club's summer and fall program began Monday at the Amherst Stadium.