You know the true sign of a great athlete? He or she is so great at his or her sport that it leaves you thinking that the sport must be incredibly easy.

Take figure skating, for example. Great figure skaters glide across the ice flawlessly, but as we see when we look at pictures from their performances, figure skating is anything but easy.

I took figure skating lessons for many years in my grade school days and even traveled to competitions. It takes hard work and dedication to the sport to master even the most basic spins and jumps let alone the exceptional moves we see skaters doing during international competitions like the Winter Olympics.

One performance that we think exemplifies the beauty of skating took place during the the 2016 World Championships. French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron performed to the song “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.

As the music started playing, the skaters glided gracefully across the ice, making every move look truly effortless. As the song went on, their technique remained flawless, and the expressions on their faces showed so much emotion, capturing the essence of the music they were skating to.

Like many athletes who make their sport look this effortless, Papadakis and Cizeron started training at an early age. Papadakis’ mom is a figure skating coach, so it was only natural for her to encourage her daughter to lace up a pair of skates as a child. She had skating in her blood.

Papadakis met her ice dance partner at the rink in France where she was training, and later, the two of them moved to Montreal to train. Papadakis first started skating when she was 9 years old, and she has been skating with Cizeron since she was 10 years old.

In an interview with NBC Sports in 2018, Cizeron commented on their skating technique.

Fluid is the way we like to skate. We enjoy choreography when it allows to glide free and keep that freedom into our programs. This is the reason why we chose these pieces…We have our own way to skate, for sure, and we’re not going to leave it. We like to take a lot of speed and then skate slower. That gives us the feeling that we fly. It’s much more agreeable for us to skate this way, so we’re always trying to keep that same feeling.

Their technique certainly seems to be working for them. They definitely look like they are flying across the ice, and during the Winter Olympics in 2018, despite a distracting wardrobe malfunction, they brought home the silver medal.

Watch for Papadakis and Cizeron during the 2022 Winter Olympics. Maybe next time they’ll take home the gold.