Sudbury skater Simon Shnapir stands out from the crowd for many reasons; he can lift and he can throw.
Which is why Simon and with Marissa Castelli, are the top figure-skating pair in the country.
“I love the feeling of just putting on the skates and skating out here on a quiet day like this. Not many people out and hearing my blades bite into the ice and echo throughout the rink,” he said.
It was anything but quiet during the national figure-skating championships in Boston when he and Marissa won first place for the second time in a row.
His parents say he's been wowing crowds from a young age, including in a Mary Poppins school play, when things went a little awry.
“I think he lost his hat, picked it up and just played it. It was so natural,” his parents said.
Simon was also determined from the start.
Born in Moscow, he started skating when he was 6-years-old.
“My mother took me to skating lessons, the Russian thing is all about the winter sports, especially the skating,” Simon said.
"He started pairs skating at about 14, that's where it really picked up. Here we are, 20 years later,” his mom said.
Simon, a student at Emerson College, partnered with Marissa eight years ago, but it hasn't always been a smooth ride.
After finishing fifth at the national championships for the second year in a row they hit a low point and took a break from one another before giving it a second chance.
“I think we both really missed skating with each other and really didn't want to give up so easily and leave it like that so we really worked hard to get back together and get on the same page and to stay committed to each other,” he said.
All that hard work, sacrifice and determination paid off last month when Simon and Marissa were named to the US Olympic team.
Hometown: Sudbury, Mass.
Date of Birth: 08/20/1987
Coach: Bobby Martin, Carrie Wall, Mark Mitchell
Choreographer: Julie Marcotte
Competes For: United States
Shnapir started to skate at age 6 after watching Scott Hamilton on TV