OLDSMAR — William Hubbart is making his dreams come true one day — even one hour — at a time.
William, 15, is a home-schooled basketball fan. He was born prematurely and has a medical condition where he can't spend a lot of time outside in the Florida heat, so he and his parents came up with a great idea.
He would practice indoors where the heat couldn't bother him and he could be the athlete he has always wanted to be.
But instead of sweating it out on the basketball courts, William took another route to athletic success. He is a figure skater at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy and is slowly making a name for himself, competing both solo and with his sister, JoJo.
William won the South Atlantic Regionals in Charlotte, N.C., last week. He beat the best in the Southeast with his signature triple-toe jump. Only one other competitor attempted one, and he fell. William nailed it and got the gold.
“It's tough and only one other person tried,” William said of the jump. “I was never scared because I knew I could do it.”
William keeps a potential trip to the Olympics in the back of his mind. He doesn't want to think too much about it.
“Obviously it is one of my goals,” William said. “I think about it. I have put so many hours into this and I always think, 'hey, I can do this.' “
William is caught in a bit of a trap. Not only is he one of the best singles skaters in the Tampa Bay area, he and JoJo are also an impressive team.
Neither one of them stays off the ice for very long. Being home schooled, they can spend both mornings and afternoons at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy. William calls the TBSA his second home. Working on both singles and pairs routines takes a lot of time. But there is still time to dream.
“I'm not looking at the Olympics yet, but I can do the triple-toe jump, so I know it's there. I still have a long way to go,” William said.
William started skating at the age of 4 and has never wanted to quit. He skates six days a week.
“I just started jumping and skating and fell in love with it,” William said. “I want to do even more triples and more flips and I know I can do it.”
And while triple toe jumps and flips on the unforgiving ice might sound scary, William shows no fear. Neither does his sister, who lets William carry her across the ice, only a slip away from injury.
“I know I can get hurt,” William said. “It's more of a thrill than a scare. In football, you get tackled and can get hurt. It's the same thing with skating. I've been lucky.”