This short film is all you need to get psyched for the Olympics

"The Figure Skater" condenses the essence of the Olympic competition into less than three minutes.


Chase Hoffberger


Published Feb 5, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:15 pm CDT

The Winter Olympics start tomorrow, which means that all around the world people will be tuning in to see world-class athletes meet the consummation of their lifelong trainings. 

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One such athlete is Matthew Parr, a figure skater from Newscastle, England. At 23, Parr’s the youngest such skater on the Team GB roster, though he knows full well the legitimacy of the sentiment that “you’ve worked your entire life for this moment.”

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That understanding’s manifested on a new short film called “The Figure Skater,” directed by British film maker Mollie Mills, that recently showed up on the weekly Staff Picks on Vimeo

Spanning just under three minutes, the film follows Parr as he suits up for yet another training session and discusses the stakes in Sochi.

“It’s not a football match of 90 minutes where you can have a four-minute bad spell and still have 86 minutes to recover,” he says. “You get four-and-a-half minutes, and that’s it. You don’t get another go. Your whole career comes down to that one section.”

The film’s part of a larger series Mills is directing that examines the driving forces behind young athletes’ lives and ambitions. 

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“For some it’s just a hobby or a way to keep fit,” she writes. “For others, it’s a career that they’re devoting their life to.”

That’s the crux of the situation for Parr, who takes the ice this weekend in search of a gold medal. 

“You’ve got the negative [voices in your head] saying ‘Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it, the stress you’re putting on yourself. Go do something else,’” he says “On the other shoulder you’ve got the ones saying ‘You’ve worked for 16 years for this one day. This is what you’re going to be doing for the next 10 minutes. 

“‘This is what 16 years have come down to.’” 

Photo via Mollie Mills/Vimeo

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*First Published: Feb 5, 2014, 2:33 pm CST