Ice skater Laura Combs, 12 is Redmond’s golden girl

Twelve-year-old Laura Combs of Redmond has been ice skating for just two and a half years, and has already put together quite an impressive record.

Redmond’s Laura Combs

Redmond’s Laura Combs

Twelve-year-old Laura Combs of Redmond has been ice skating for just two and a half years, and has already put together quite an impressive record.

She has attained seven gold medals in various skating competitions, including one this year at the Blades on Ice competition at Shoreline’s Highland Ice Arena in April and another at the 2008 Washington Games in Mountlake Terrace.

Combs’ other five medals came before she and her family moved up to Redmond last year, where she got her start in figure skating in the unlikeliest of places.

They are from Flower Mound, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where the average temperature climbs well into the 90s during the summer months.

“My neighbors had done ice skating, and they took me skating sometimes,” Combs recalled. “It was really hot in Texas, and they actually gave me their skates and an outfit. I did some group classes and I really liked it.”

According to her mother, Karen, something about Laura caught the coach’s eye and he correctly predicted that she had a future in the sport.

“The coach that she had said, ‘you should try some private lessons, you’re really good,’ and she’s been told ever since that she’s been talented with it,” Karen said.

Laura’s biggest victory by far in her young career was at the Washington Games in the pre-preliminary division, and the circumstances surrounding her gold-medal performance were just as significant as her stellar on-ice routine.

Similar to the situation in a memorable Peanuts cartoon special, Laura’s music got damaged between the time they handed it in and the time it got to the judges’ table.

“Her coach had some old music in the car from another competition with another girl,” Karen said. “She had to skate to that, and she still won.”

In the tense moments before Laura was called to skate, her coach was trying to calm her down by making small-talk conversation, asking her questions like, “Do you still tell people you’re from Texas?”

It worked … for a while.

“When I found out about my music I was actually really nervous, I was like ‘what am I gonna do?’” Laura said. “But I think it worked out better, because at the end I had more time to finish my spin, and at my normal music I had to kind of rush through my spin just so I could finish my program.”

By winning her division at the Washington Games, Laura has earned a trip the 2009 State Games of America in Colorado Springs, Colo.


Laura’s rigorous training schedule leading up to events like the Washington Games involves three or four days a week of on-ice practices in addition to one weekly lesson, and she also takes time at home to learn from the very best in the sport.

“She’s been watching video of (Olympic silver medalist) Sasha Cohen skate, and I’ve talked to her about how to calm yourself with your breathing, and she’s been watching Sasha do that,” Karen said of her daughter’s training regimen. “We’ve also been discussing visualizing her program in her head, and I think all that has helped.”

Like her role model, Laura’s ultimate goal is to skate in the Olympics someday, but in the near future she wants to move up to the “sectional” level, at which skaters are separated only by age and not by skill level, and it will certainly be a lot of work for the young skater. One of the requirements of sectionals is that skaters have to land a double-double jump somewhere in the program, something that Laura has already begun to practice in the hallways of her North Redmond home.

“I was working on that and landed one when I was on the floor,” she said proudly. “I love jumping, my mom knows I jump all around the house.”

On skates, the soon-to-be seventh grader at Timbercrest Junior High can do a single axel, and is learning do to the more challenging double sowkow, double loop and double toe jumps.


Having been involved with numerous activities growing up like soccer, ballet and dance, Laura believes it is the “individual” aspect of skating that keeps her fired up.

I think it’s just really fun to be out there because it’s a sport that not very many people do, (unlike) soccer,” Laura said. “It feels really special because when you say you won a gold medal, people are like, “wow that’s really amazing,” rather than saying “my team won this,” because it’s all my work, that I’ve worked really hard to get. It wasn’t like it was other people that earned it and I was just part of the team.”

Karen says that although commuting from their home to ice rinks in Kingsgate, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace can be hard on her, she is proud of Laura’s accomplishments so far and believes “it’s worth it.”

As with most parents of child athletes, she admits she feels the heat watching from the stands, knowing that after the hundreds of hours of training, lessons and pep talks, Laura’s performance is now entirely out of her hands.

“I get kind of nervous, but I’m starting to take the advice I’m giving her, I’m learning to breathe,” said the mother of two. “It can be kind of frantic, but I think the more competitions we’ve done, we’re starting to get more used to things.

“Except now we know to bring extra music.”

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

Redmond coach, grapplers join Ascend Wrestling Academy

Redmond High wrestling coach Lantz Schwabenbauer and several local grapplers are part… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’
Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’

Mustangs open season against Squalicum.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.