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Sparkly dresses to Olympic gold

When she was about six years old, Sofia Frank, like all little girls, dreamt of being a princess. So a trip to an ice skating rink in California sparked her imagination. 

“It was all my parents. They took me to the skating rink; I immediately just fell in love with it,” she says in an exclusive interview with The STAR. “The girls wore sparkly dresses. So that’s what I fell in love with. When you’re a little girl, all you want to wear is sparkly dresses.”

Once she got on the ice though, the constant learning and broadening of her experience enriched her attraction to figure skating even more. When she was 12, the family planned a move to Colorado Springs, Colorado, coincidentally where her coach was moving to, and also the site of the US Olympic Training Center. Happily, her father Noah is from Colorado. So everything fell into place. Sofia’s parents have been working tirelessly to fund her training, home school her, pay for her travels, and provide for all her gear. It has been a challenge the family has risen up to meet courageously. She has also prioritized her sport, knowing that school will always be there, and she can hang out with her friends on weekends. The opportunity to be one of the world’s best is here, now. Eventually, the young teen made the international junior selection pool of US Figure Skating.

“It’s very challenging. It’s mentally very tough, physically very tough. It’s a very difficult sport to do,” the 18-year-old admits. “But I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s like second nature for me, but it’s a very difficult sport.”

After the 2021 season, the Philippine Skating Union reached out to Sofia’s mother, 1990 Binibining Pilipinas Maja winner Preciosa Tongko-Frank. PhSU was looking for a new skater as Alisson Perticheto, the Philippine representative to the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany (the last Olympic qualifier), was injured. The Franks made the decision to transfer to Team Philippines, where Sofia would have a better chance of qualifying for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy. As a senior skater in the US, she would have a much larger field to overcome.

“I owe a lot to Congressman Mike Dy,” Preciosa reveals, “If it wasn’t for him, we