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Barrie-trained athlete takes Skating for Young Heroes program to Poland (5 photos)

Mariposa figure-skater Olivia Rybicka-Oliver met five young people in Warsaw following recent competition in Poland

After competing at last week’s Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Gdansk, Poland, with her ice-dance partner Joshua Andari, 18-year-old Barrie resident Olivia Rybicka-Oliver swapped her blades for balloons.

The pair trains at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie.

With the ice-dance team having achieved their personal-best performance score with a top-10 finish, Rybicka-Oliver travelled from Gdansk to her hometown of Warsaw to meet up with five children in the capital city’s famous Łazienki Park as part of her Skating for Young Heroes program.

Rybicka-Oliver met with five-year-old Kornelia and 12-year-old Beata, who were both born with Down syndrome, as well as 11-year-old Sebastian and 16-year-old Aleksander who both live with the challenges of cerebral palsy, and nine-year-old Adrian, Sebastian's brother, who was recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

In addition to spending time with the children and having their photos taken together, Rybicka-Oliver presented each of them with large bags of gifts.

“Through Skating for Young Heroes, I combine my passion for skating with my passion for helping children less fortunate in Poland," Rybicka-Oliver said in a release, which also noted she has personally granted the wishes of 30 children living with life-threatening illnesses or life-limiting conditions over the past few years. She also helps to fund-raise and promote gala events and causes on behalf of the Polish children’s charity, Fundacja Dziecięca Fantazja.

In addition to being the Polish national junior ice-dance champion with a No. 1 ranking, Rybicka-Oliver is also the Guinness world-record holder for the fastest spinner on ice, clocking an incredible 342 revolutions per minute.