Shining Starr: Inspiring Olympic Dreams

As a mother, I understand the pride we feel in our children’s achievements. Watching them grow and reach their goals and dreams.


So, Toshawa Andrews, mother of rising competitive figure skater – Starr Andrews, must be beaming with extra pride sharing in the amazing journey and rightly deserved recognition of her daughter; a shining star who is wowing audiences around the world with her masterful skating skills.

Starr is a vibrant up and coming 16- year-old championship figure skater who’s not shy about going for what she wants. She is the 2017 U.S. national junior silver medalist and placed 12th at the 2017 World Junior Championships. Today, she’s focusing on the 2018 and 2020 Olympics.

She is also a precious gift; fulfilling a dream once held by her mother, becoming a “star” in the highly competitive world of Championship Figure Skating.

I was mesmerized by Starr’s skating prowess in a recent video on YouTube showcasing her immense talent. On January 5th she was dazzling the skating world at the Free Skate LP Long Program 2018 Prudential US Figure Skating Championships with her passionate performance to the epic Whitney Houston song “One Moment in Time”. (Starr even sang vocals!)


Starr’s success as a skater is not a fluke. As a child, she was inspired watching her mother train. Starr’s tiny feet were too small for the skates so she had to do a little growing before she’d get her chance. When asked about the origin of her name in an interview for NBC Olympics she recalls:

“It just came to my mom, when I was in her arms: Let’s name her Starr!”

Toshawa Andrews was an aspiring figure skater whose career was cut short in her mid 20’s, when she was diagnosed with a coronary microvascular disease (MVD), causing her to experience a dozen heart attacks.

Toshawa Andrews (in green), with her kids, from left: Ashton, Starr, and Skylar.


Toshawa had also fallen in love with competitive ice skating as a child and in her 20s began competing, putting in several hours of training at least four days a week.

One day, feeling a burning sensation in her chest she drove herself to the hospital where she was given an angiogram – a type of X-ray that shows how blood is flowing – which showed no blockages so the doctors sent her home.

Toshawa resumed training believing the episode was a fluke. However, 4 years later, after the birth of her son, the burning in her chest returned. She immediately went to the hospital and discovered that not only had she suffered a heart attack that day, she had 10 more between 2007 and 2010; they occurred about every two months.

“Before something like this happens, you take for granted what feeling normal is,” she said. “I hate the pain and suffering, but I’m still alive and I’m most grateful for that.”

Starr was born on June 23, 2001, in Los Angeles, California and began skating in 2005. In 2010 a video of the nine-year-old Starr skating to Whip My Hair went viral after appearing on Youtube in December. To date, it has reached over 50 million views.

Starr is definitely making her mark in the skating arena; exceeding goals with a strength and gratitude she shares with her mother.

What a blessing for Toshawa Andrews, as she fights daily for her life, to be able to witness the success of her daughter.

By pursuing her love of the sport, Starr competes not only for herself but her mother; keeping the spirit and vision of Olympic Championship dreams alive.

“I didn’t give you the gift of life, life gave me the gift of you.” Anonymous

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Written by DonnaMarie Woodson

As a writer, wife, and mother I feel it is my obligation to hold a mirror up to the world to remind us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. I’m a fighter who is a survivor of both Colon and Breast Cancer and live for every moment of every day.

My philosophy is we create our own reality so it’s up to us to live a life of peace, compassion, and love.

Contact DonnaMarie


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