A figure skater from Massachusetts will be traveling to Pyeongchang to compete in the Olympics, but she will not be joining Team USA.
"If I want to compete internationally, I'm going to do it for Israel,” said Aimee Buchanan of Lexington.
The 24-year-old will skate on behalf of the Israeli Olympic team, an opportunity that presented itself because of her family's heritage. When she realized she would be strong enough to compete on an international stage, Buchanan decided to exercise her Israeli citizenship and join their program.
"It gives me the most opportunity, while being able to represent where I'm from," Buchanan explained. "It almost felt like it was just a dream I would have, but it never felt like a dream that could actually come true."
As the lead female singles skater in Israel, Buchanan qualified for the European Championships three times and won the Israeli National Championship in 2016. However, her success has come with sacrifice. To improve her skills, Buchanan had to relocate to Texas to train with elite coaches, Darlene and Peter Cain. Recently, she has also had to overcome injuries, undergoing surgery to her foot in August.
"I'm amazed, shocked. If she had her druthers, she would be on the ice 10-15 hours a day," said her mother, Wendy Buchanan.
Home for a few days, Buchanan worked in several training sessions with her longtime coach in Boxborough. Thursday, ahead of her return to Texas, she spent hours rehearsing her jumps and routine on the ice.
"You would never know anyone that works any harder than this girl. There's nobody that deserves going more than she does," said coach, Julie Graham.
While Buchanan said a gold medal is not her goal, she is looking forward to competing against some of the best skaters in the world.
"I just want to not let all the lights and cameras and everything affect me," Buchanan said. "Just stay in my little bubble while I'm on the ice. Then, when I get off the ice, just enjoy it."
Buchanan leaves for South Korea on Monday.