Figure Skater Rachael Flatt Just Your Average Teen Headed to the Olympics

01/27/2010 at 09:00 AM EST

Figure Skater Rachael Flatt Just Your Average Teen Headed to the Olympics
Mirai Nagasu (left) and Rachael Flatt
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov
She loves lemonade, feta cheese, Dan Brown novels and rollercoasters. She has two Old English Sheepdogs named Fred and Ethel after the I Love Lucy characters. And she's been skating since she was only 4 years old.

Meet Rachael Flatt, the 17-year-old high school senior who dashed Sasha Cohen's hopes of making a comeback at the Olympics.

Flatt beat the 25-year-old silver medalist in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Saturday night and will go to the February winter Olympics in Vancouver. Cohen, who left the sport in 2006, lost points for several mistakes and a fall.

Flatt, currently the fifth-ranked figure skater in the world, finished the competition in first place with an overall score of 200.11. She awed spectators during the long program by successfully hitting seven triple jumps.

Mirai Nagasu, 16, placed second and will be on the U.S. team with Flatt.

When she isn’t skating, Flatt – a California native – is an avid reader and a literacy advocate. Her favorite books are Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

The teen loves her mom's homemade gnocchi and four-cheese ravioli with pesto sauce, and drinks a glass of chocolate milk every night before she goes to bed. She’s also partial to orange creamsicle smoothies. Fred and Ethel share Flatt with her cat, Tom.

The wonder on ice, who trains in Colorado Springs, is also a brainiac who gets straight A's in school and dreams of going to an Ivy League college to study biomechanical engineering or medicine.

But for now, skating at the Olympics, which kick off Feb. 12, is Flatt’s focus.

"It's the ultimate competition," she says on her Web site. "Everything I do counts toward that ultimate goal of competing there."

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