A new U.S. Skating coach who’s helping athletes train for the 2022 Winter Olympics has never skated himself.
Jimmie Manners is a professional dancer who grew up dancing ballet, helped choreograph the movie “Step Up 2” and performed with Jennifer Lopez in her shows in Las Vegas.
“My mother, who was very headstrong, was like, OK, you’re not going to be in these streets; you’re gonna be in these ballet classes, and I just loved it,” Manners said. “It was for me."
When the team first texted Manners asking him to join, even he was confused.
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“As soon as I seen ice skating, I was, like, no, scroll past that, and it just kept happening again,” he said.
This year, all competitive ice dancers are required to do a hip hop routine, which is Manners’ specialty. At the Ion International Training Center in Leesburg, Virginia, Manners oversees making sure their moves are picture perfect.
“For me, the translation from floor to ice was actually almost seamless because there’s no friction on the ice,” he said. “I felt like I was able to do more."
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"I think it’s really innovative, what he’s been doing and how he’s been working with us, and it definitely takes the sport to the next level," ice dancer Lorraine McNamara said.
As he helps his skaters go for gold, Manners also has some plans of his own.
"My goal this year, though, is to learn to skate,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll be pretty difficult."
Manners spent much of his childhood in Prince George’s County and attended the Pullen Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Landover.
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