Figure skating for children with disabilities
Figure skating coach Olga Ņečajeva does wonders — she teaches skating to children with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. The classes for children with disabilities—this is a therapy, treatment, rehabilitation, and a possibility to get rid of fear, pain, and the feeling that nobody needs them. Children start to walk, speak, and communicate better.
These children are incredibly lucky to have the possibility to attend the sports club, put on the skates and work under a professional coach. Olga’s students have been diagnosed with various illnesses: autism, cerebral palsy, Asperger syndrome, brain damage, developmental disorders, etc. Olga does not sort children according to their diagnosis. She simply loves them.
In addition to regular exercising, Olga’s students also participate in international figure skating competitions for children with special needs. Currently, Olga dreams to prepare her team for Special Olympics in January 2023.
There are students of different ages in TWIZZLE, the club that Olga founded. Training takes place in Riga and Liepaja, and all students with special needs train for free. Actually, their parents even do not have a possibility to pay for the classes as all funds are used to maintain children’s health.
There are many parents who have recently contacted Olga as they have learned about this unique possibility. The number will grow if we support these classes.
It is important to note that the coach does everything herself—she organizes participation in competitions, submits applications, creates and prepares programmes, looks for fundings to cover rent and travel expenses. There is no sponsorship, nor governmental support.
Two stories about two special figure skaters
Ornella Dančenko has Down syndrome. Right after her birth, doctors tried to persuade Ornella’s mother to refuse from the girl. Ornella’s health was very poor, and she needed several heart surgeries. However, now she wins medals in international competitions. You can watch Ornella on ice in this video — this is a programme she performed in Finland (October 2021), where she won the gold medal
Deniss Kargins is the very first Olga’s student with special needs. Deniss has cerebral palsy. He started skating many years ago—he hardly walked, but dreamed of skating. A year later, doctors noticed that Deniss’ movement reflexes and speech have improved. Initially he could stand on ice only when holding on to a dedicated iron goal. Later he learned to do pirouettes and even jumps. After a while, Deniss started to participate in competitions and show performances. “I believe that he is the one and only in the world. Deniss shows that everything is possible if one finds motivation,” says the coach.
Olga Ņečajeva’s students with special needs won 2 gold and 1 silver medals in the very prestigious international competition Finland Trophy-21. Taking into account that the skaters have cerebral palsy and other disabilities, this is a particularly high achievement. You can read more about the competition here. You can also have a look into everyday exercising and watch the coach’s story about her special students.
Olga Ņečajeva is a master of dancing on ice—she was a champion of Latvia, and she has also participated in many international competitions. She has graduated from Latvian Academy of Sports and Russian Institute of Theatre Arts, becoming a ballet choreographer. Olga is a true professional and an enthusiast of her work, and she also has a golden heart and great patience while seeking for the best solutions for training her students.
In order to provide even more children with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome with a possibility to figure skate, improve their physical health and believe in their abilities, your support is needed. We will highly appreciate each donation.
Charity Foundation BeOpen
Reg. No. 50008218201,
Account No. LV59 CBBR 1123 2155 000 10
Bank: AS BlueOrange Bank
Purpose: Figure skating for children with disabilities