LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – "No way," I said, trying to follow her coaching directions at Alpine Ice Arena. "I can't do it."
"No way?" She replied, "You tried it two times. You're a sissy!"
She's allowed to call me a sissy as I floundered on the ice trying basic skating maneuvers. Lydia Herron, 87, can't teach me spins or jumps, but she taught me a ton about life.
"What did you know about Hitler?" I asked.
"Well, I tell you what, I knew he was the leader," said Herron. "My father was never in the party. Mother never in the party. I was never in the party, only through my sport."
Her sport was skating.
Her country was Nazi Germany, waging war on the world.
The talented Hitler Youth skater said there was no pressure and it was no different from a scout troop.
"Just like it is on these Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts," she said. "I thought that's what it was when I came over here, you have a little uniform for these little kids and we had little uniforms, but everything went through school and Hitler Youth."
One of Germany's best by the age of 17, she placed 8th in the 1943 European Championships.
Lydia would have been a major player in the Olympics.
But there were no Olympics from 1936 to 1948 and there were more important things to worry about.
"The peak of your skating skills was right in the war, so you missed out on if there had been an Olympics," I said.
"Definitely," she said.
"Sounds like you would have been in the Olympics," I said
"Oh surely," she said.
"How do you feel about that?" I asked.
"Oh well, we lived. I was glad I was alive. I never, never, I remember when we sat down in the bunker, or cellar, I never thought I would come out alive," she said.
And a wonderful thing did happen after she came out of the war alive.
Lydia Herron was invited to perform at a beautiful resort they were building in the Bavarian Alps.
It was her ticket out to a long career as a skating instructor in Kentucky and Indiana.
No regrets, as hard as that is for me to understand.
"As you are watching the Olympics, does it ever occur to you, I could've been in the Olympics? I was that good, I got cheated out of that?" I asked.
"Maybe, but I had a better spot. I had it better than anybody. Ice skating opened doors for me," she said.