By Abner Galino

The nine-year-old Filipina American figure skater we featured here in Weekend Balita six years ago — who professed then about her desire to someday compete in the Winter Olympics — has evolved into a top-notch athlete and is resolutely closing in on her dream.

Sofia Lexi Jacqueline Frank, 15, is one of the athletes representing the Philippines in the prestigious Nebelhorn Trophy held annually in Oberstdorf, Germany.  It is a qualifier for the 2022 Winter Olympics or the XXIV Olympic Winter Games to be held in China.

Sofia Frank is the third child of Binibining Pilipinas Maja 1990 Precious Tongko and Noah Frank. In 2018, the Frank family moved from Pasadena in California to Colorado Springs in Colorado to train at the World Arena — a center where Olympians train.

Sofia’s mother, Precious, told Weekend Balita in a recent interview that her daughter is being trained by world renowned Olympic coach Tammy Gambill.

The Fil-Am skater was nurtured by coaches Natasha Adler De Guzman and Ouida Robins for 10 years prior to moving to Colorado.

Precious disclosed that in her current training for the Nebelhorn Trophy, Sofia also has secondary coaches, particularly; a ballet coach, choreographers and a fitness coach off the skating rink for strength and conditioning.

The former Filipina beauty queen also revealed that Sofia could have stuck it out with the United States Figure Skating (USFS) International Selection Pool (ISP) but opted to become part of the Philippine team.

“But she wants to represent the country (Philippine), I guess in the same way that I felt as Binibining Pilipinas Maja. She is proud of it,” Precious said.

Luckily, not only because Sofia meets the standard of the Philippine Skating Union, she didn’t to go through a lengthy procedure to qualify as a Filipino athlete.

“I was still a green card holder when I gave birth to her,” Precious explained. The said situation permitted Sofia to also acquire Philippine citizenship by virtue of being born to a Filipino mother.

Currently, Precious has been busy helping out Sofia in drumbeating for support from the Filipino American community.

“It is quite an expensive endeavor (participating in international competition) and we would really appreciate the help of everyone,” Precious said.

Those who want to help out can go to: Figure Skating, Road to Olympics, Go Fund Me or Sofiaskates.com

Sofia has been all over the Philippine media where she has been telling people how she developed her love for the sports when she was three years old.

Sofia has recalled how her parents took her to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center.

“It was love at first sight when I saw little girls in pretty dresses doing their little jumps,” Sofia recalled. From then on, the figure skater has participated in more than a hundred competitions.

When she was featured in Weekend Balita, Sofia just won the Sandy Gollihugh Future Star Trophy for her sterling performance at the 2015 Pasadena Figure Skating Club Open Competition.

Sofia said that if she gets the coveted Olympic berth in the Nebelhorn Trophy, she will be going back to more training.

“Right now, I am working hard on my consistency and my artistry. And I am asking all of you for your support to help attain my dream. Going for gold!”