‘I want to have some impact
in the ice skating circle.’

‘Ice Skating Prince’ Harry Lee’s Story

Text: Cravina Chong  │ Photo: Ella Cheong, with some provided by the interviewee
ISSUE68 April2017 MyUM

‘I think an ice skater probably reaches his prime at 24 years old,’ says Harry Lee, a longtime ice skater from the Faculty of Business Administration and a member of Cheng Yu Tung College. Lee will turn 23 in June. Driven by a sense of urgency and a desire to make a name for himself on the world stage, last year he decided to suspend his studies for one year so he could have time to participate in several major competitions.


Suspending Studies for Training

Freed from academic commitments, Lee actually became busier. Since the International Figure Skating Competition held in Croatia Zagreb in October 2016, he has represented Hong Kong at five competitions. In the FBMA Trophy for Figure Skating held in January in Dubai, he successfully completed five different kinds of triple toe loop and placed third in the senior men’s category, thus qualifying for the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships held in February.


Surpassing Expectations at Asian Games

February was an extremely busy month for Lee, because he had to participate in three major competitions, namely the Universiade held in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which he attended representing UM, the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships held in South Korea, and the Asian Winter Games held in Japan. ‘I barely had time to catch my breath,’ he says. At the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, he made a silly mistake which cost him the chance to advance to the final. But after the initial frustration, he decided not to let one mistake affect him and reminded himself not to repeat the same mistake at the Asian Games.

Harry Lee places third in the senior men’s category
at the 2017 FBMA Trophy for Figure Skating.

In the end, he surpassed his personal best and placed 15 in the Asian Games. ‘It was my best performance. I surpassed myself by 120 per cent,’ he says. ‘I enjoyed every minute of the competition. I even nailed those difficult moves I couldn’t master in training. My performance at the Asian Games more than did myself justice. It also let the whole world know that Harry Lee has been making steady progress ever since his debut appearance in 2010.’


Greatest Support from Mother and Sister

The greatest support for Lee comes from his mother, who is a full-time housewife, and his elder sister, who is also passionate about ice skating. They provide both emotional and practical support to Lee. His sister helps him choreograph the dance moves, and his mother takes care of everything related to his training and competitions. ‘My mom always tells me to just worry about the competition, and let her worry about the rest,’ he says.

Figure skating receives only limited support from the Hong Kong SAR government because it is not considered an elite sport until April 2017. Over the years Lee has been funding his outbound trips for competitions out of his own pocket. Lee’s family is not wealthy, and many people have questioned the wisdom of spending so much money on an athletic pursuit. But his mother always tells him to ignore other people’s opinions and encourages him to devote himself to the sport wholeheartedly.

Harry Lee in competitions

Showing Athletic Promise in Childhood

Apart from ice skating, Lee is also good at modern dance and volleyball. There is no figure skating team at UM, so he joined the dance troupe and the volleyball team. During days when he can’t do ice skating, he will play volleyball to maintain his physical fitness. Lee began playing volleyball in fifth grade. He feels that the slide move in volleyball is very similar to the jumps in ice skating, both of which suit a physically active person like him. ‘I started playing volleyball because of ice skating. And now playing volleyball helps improve my ice skating. So I benefit from both,’ he says.


Focus of Attention on the Ice Rink

It has been 18 years now since Lee started learning ice skating at the age of five. When in primary school, Lee had a hard time choosing between ice skating and volleyball. In the end, he decided to become a ‘dancer on ice’. ‘Figure skating really is a very special sport,’ he says. ‘The moment the music starts, all eyes are on you. So I have to concentrate my attention completely on giving the best performance I can. I enjoy being the focus of everyone’s attention.’ Ice skating also helps improve his coordination and makes him a quick learner in any sport he tries his hand at. ‘It is also a good exercise for my brain,’ he says.

Harry Lee represents UM at the Universiade held
in the Republic of Kazakhstan for the first time

Hoping to Have Impact in the Ice Skating Circle

Lee will resume his studies in the 2017/2018 academic year. Not only has he never given up on studies because of ice skating, the good health as a result of regular training actually allows him to achieve more with less effort in studies.

It turns out that Lee chose to study business administration for a special reason—he hopes that one day he will have some impact in the ice skating circle. ‘There aren’t many ice rinks in Macao and Hong Kong, and the ones that we do have are mostly reserved for commercial purposes. So it’s often not easy to find a training venue. After I retire as an athlete, I hope to work in a management position in the ice skating circle. That way I will be able to strike a balance between making money and training athletes. It will also allow me to exert a greater impact. I also hope to popularise ice skating and provide professional training for athletes. But to achieve these goals, I first need to equip myself by completing my undergraduate studies.’

Life without goals becomes meaningless. Let’s wish our ‘Ice Skating Prince’ the best of luck in pursuing his dreams.