While there is no substitute in this world for good old-fashioned hard work, it would be a mistake to say that natural talents don't also play a role in someone becoming truly exceptional at something. You could take 100 kids of the same age and train them the same way every day, but by the end of a few months, there would be some that would naturally rise to the top of the class. Still, the true mark of a child prodigy is the combination of talent and a great work ethic. There are plenty of hard working people with no talent, and plenty of talented people who never put in the work, and the world will never hear about either of them.
13-year-old Gia Kokotakis is an accomplished figure skater from Santa Monica, California. In 2015, she took the bronze medal in the Intermediate Ladies division of the United States Figure Skating Championships. She scored a whopping 99.43 points and even debuted two new spins that had never before been attempted by any skater during a competition. The stellar performance, she revealed, was the result of a grueling 23 hours a week of training to consistently outdo herself. Clearly, she's not afraid to put in the work.
In this video, we see the other half of the equation, which is Gia's amazing, raw talent. This was taken in 2009 at the L.A. Open Artistic. Then 7-year-old Gia wowed everyone with her routine, which quickly became a viral hit on YouTube. Her incredible performance won her third place, beating out girls who were twice her age! Gia's ultimate dream is to get to the Olympics in 2018 or 2022, and with her winning combo of talent and hard work, I've no doubt I'll see her winning a medal for the U.S.A. soon enough.
H/T: Nick Kokotakis