"I started at such a young age that I thought everyone had their own little sport," she said. "Skating became all I knew."
Figure skaters who are seriously pursuing the sport will practice two to three hours a day on the ice, endlessly re-peating lutzes (a toe jump that takes off from the back outside edge of the left foot and is launched by the right toe pick) or salchows (edge jumps that take off from the left back inside edge of the skate) until their bodies know how to perform the moves without the skaters having to consciously think about them.
Training continues off the ice, with everything from running track and stretches to light weightlifting. Many figure skaters also take ballet, which Tanner said is good for teaching the muscles about discipline, inner strength and grace.
"Ballet really centers your body," she said. "It helps you know exactly where your balance is."
Even falls, which always signal such tragedy during televised competitions, can eventually be dealt with as naturally as the skating itself.
"You learn the moves at such a young age that eventually when you take off, you can pretty much tell if you're going to make the jump," said Tanner. "And if they don't make it, figure skaters also train their body to fall a little more safely."
Still, not even muscle training is perfect, especially when you're talking about a growing skater. Though many begin skating as soon as they're capable of making it onto the ice, it's extremely rare for a figure skater to start attempting jumps until they're eight or nine. Some, however, feel that even that age is too young.
"When a skater starts landing jumps at such a young age, they're bodies are still growing. Their muscles change, and when they get older they can't do it anymore," said Tanner. "That's when injuries start to happen."
Still, if a skater loves the ice enough, they'll simply retrain their muscles to know what to do. Training may help a skater learn how to master the ice, but it's dedication that gets them out there in the first place.
"Some kids have a natural ability and pick up on it right away, and with others it takes longer," said Tanner. "Either way, it's an everyday process."