The Lao Ice Queen
What does it take to become an elite athlete? Isabelle Inthisone would probably tell you extreme dedication, passion and sacrifice. Making a daily two-hour commute from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, to the Chicago suburbs, spending 4-6 hours on the ice, ballet lessons, cutting back financially, the list goes on. Isabelle began skating at the age of four and by nine she was featured by CNN as a future Olympic skater. Now, eighteen and a student at the University of Wisconsin, she has racked up a long list of accomplishment on the ice.
Isabelle tried other sports but felt at home on the ice from a young age. In 2017 she talked about her experience with Little Laos on the Prairie.
She made history in 2018 by becoming the first known Lao American to qualify for the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships. From there the accomplishments started piling up. In 2019 Isabelle had a phenomenal year, talking first place at the Upper Great Lakes Regionals, Philadelphia Summer International- Junior, and Egna Spring Trophy -Adv Novice. She would go on to compete at the 2019 Junior Grand Prixs in Italy and Latvia taking 4th and 10th respectively. Covid limited competition for a period of time but Isabelle would place 4th at the 2020 U.S Junior Championships. In 2022 Isabelle skated in the U.S. Championship series taking 6th (Leesburg) and 12th (Spokane). The extreme sacrifices required to reach the elite level involved years of going to school online and even a temporary relocation to Irvine, CA.
Isabelle is currently attending the University of Wisconsin- Maddison where she continues to train. Her parents are Kayphet Inthisone and Jessica Praxaya. Kayphet was born in Vientiane and came to the U.S. as a child. He is a U.S. Marine veteran who served in the first Gulf War. Jessica's family is from a small village outsides of Savanakhet and she came to the U.S.A as an infant. Isabelle’s brother Ben is an up-and-coming soccer player at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL.
“I started out swimming because my dad always wanted us to learn, but I was so scared of it. So, we switched to ballet and soccer. It was on the ice that everything felt right, to me. Instead of just wanting to have fun, I felt something more. It was the first time I discovered my competitive side” -Isabelle Inthisone
About this Article
Information for this article came from interviews with the Inthisone family, U.S.A Figure Skating, and Little Laos on the Prairie. All phots are courtesy of the Inthisone family and not for redistribution without their permission.
Last Updated: January 28, 2022