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My Boston: Team USA's Ross Miner

Boston's Olympic hopeful on skating, Sochi and the one thing about his hometown that will surprise every visitor

Vermont-born, Watertown-raised U.S. men’s figure skater and Team USA member Ross Miner is a serious contender for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, which take place Feb. 7-24, 2014. In January, Miner competes in the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships here in Boston; it’s the last qualifying competition prior to the selection of the 2014 Olympic Team. We sat down with the 22-year-old athlete and talked about a few fun things as well as his on-the-verge career—no pressure there!

When did you know you wanted to make skating your career?

You know, I just sort of happened into it, where I was skating and I was doing really well, and I kept doing well. I [realized], ‘Wow, I really care about this.’ So, it turned into my full-time career as opposed to me consciously sitting there and deciding that this is what I’m going to do. But I’m really happy it turned out this way.

Do you have a chance at making it to Sochi?

It’s anybody’s game right now. It is obviously a dream of mine, and I am going to work my butt off to get there, but there are a lot of good guys.

How does Boston stack up to some of the places you’ve traveled?

It’s a pretty awesome city. I love living in Boston. I couldn’t really imagine living somewhere else.

When you’re not on the ice, what’s your favorite thing to do around town?

When I’m not skating, and I’m not dead tired from skating, I usually go catch dinner with friends in Harvard Square, because that’s pretty close to where I live. Or, sometimes, we’ll see a movie downtown.

Harvard Square
Harvard Square in Cambridge, Miner's top spot for hanging out and dinner with friends (©EandJFilmCrews/Flickr)

What’s your fondest Boston memory?

Getting to skate on the Frog Pond during New Year celebrations, even though it’s really cold. You’re right in the middle of Boston Common, and it’s beautiful.

Tell me about your Boston Strong-inspired, free-skate performance.

We had a really hard time finding a theme for my program this year that we all liked. We talked about a lot of different things, and we were talking about it in a meeting between my coaches and I on the day of the bombing. We were getting all these text messages, so we turned on the news on my cell phone and watched CNN for a few minutes. That was such a shock. Then it was Friday night and we get a call from the Watertown police to stay inside and lock our doors [because of the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev]—I’m from Watertown. There were a lot of things that pointed me in this direction, and it turned into a great program. I am really excited to get to skate it in Boston, in front of a home crowd that will hopefully be very appreciative of it.

You play a sport, but are you a sports fan?

I am a sports fan. I’m a big Bruins fan. I watch regular-season Bruins games, and I love the playoffs in any sport. I also enjoy watching golf. It sort of calms me down.

What’s one thing about Boston that will surprise an out-of-towner?

Driving. I have friends from out of town come, and they have to sit in the car with me. I remember one time; I was driving from the skating club on Soldiers Field Road to Harvard Square to Eliot House, because we were doing a show. That’s maybe a mile-and-a-half drive. I’m not a scary driver, but it was commencement week at Harvard and it was insane. You have to be assertive to get anywhere. So, they got out of the car and they looked like they had just seen a ghost. I would definitely say that driving is the number-one thing people are not ready for when they get to Boston.

What’s your guilty pleasure, and where can we indulge, too?

It’s got to be some kind of awesome food. Mike’s Pastry. Like three cannolis, you know?

Follow Ross Miner's perfect one-day Boston trip itinerary for your next visit.

Larz Anderson Park in winter
Man-made rinks and frozen ponds have given many native Bostonians like Ross Miner their love of on-ice sports. (©LornaWu/Shutterstock)