Cue the ‘Feels’
For me it comes down to a feeling. More specifically it comes down to how skaters can make me feel when they are performing. For Ontario’s Ice Dance Olympians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier once the music started for their Evita-inspired free dance the rest of what was happening in the rink faded into the background for me. Their skating is powerful; but their storytelling is even more so. Take my word for it, this will be a program that you will want to find and place on your own YouTube playlist for easy AND frequent access, I know I will.
Sometimes the ‘feels’ for me aren’t only triggered by what happens in performance. The women’s event was disappointing for Ontario’s Maddie Schizas and Gabby Daleman in that their respective free skates weren’t the stuff of dreams today. Both women skated one after the other and the moment I witnessed reminded me that figure skating is hard and there are no ‘do overs’ and that often nobody can understand a tough skate like another skater. As Gabby exited the media area and Maddie was waiting to go in, the young women hugged with a heartfelt back pat. It was a special moment.
Pair skaters Brooke McIntosh and Ben Mimar were on a high after yesterday’s short program and had their goal of having FUN top of mind as they took the ice for their free. The good, no, great news is that they told me that fun was had! Their debut on the senior grand prix circuit has been very strong and they will continue to train at home in preparation for the NHK event that is happening in a couple of weeks. Their enthusiasm left me feeling joyful.
What a difference a day makes!!!! Three quad jumps and two triple Axel jumps, and a host of stuffed animals thrown on the ice by knowledgeable and appreciative fans confirmed what we already knew: Ontario’s Stephen Gogolev has the goods and delivered a season’s best performance. Makes me feel that redemption is always possible.
Closing out the competition for Ontario skaters was Conrad Orzel. With a goal of improving on last year’s ninth place finish at Skate Canada International, he was pointed in the right direction after a sixth-place finish in the short program and laid it all out in the free program. Despite issues on some of the jumps, Conrad also delivered a season’s best performance.
On balance, the skating from Ontario skaters makes me feel happy that I am back at a skating event. More to come!
Make sure you follow Skate Ontario on social media @SkateOntario on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you will find the most up to date AND entertaining coverage of our Ontario athletes competing at Skate Canada International and beyond.
Check out our Lives on Facebook and YouTube with special guest Asher Hill, host of CBC Sports’ That Figure Skating Show on Saturday’s show.