Hi everyone! I was so excited when I was asked to be this month’s Skate Ontario “Skater in Residence”. Skate Ontario has been such a huge component of my skating career, always feeling like one big, supportive family. Therefore, it was such an honour to be given the opportunity this month.
As many of you know, and those who don’t, I skate at the empire that is the Toronto Cricket Club. What a lot of people don’t know is that I have only ever skated here, which is quite rare given its reputation for building the world’s finest athletes in their senior careers. I can’t stress enough how the experience of training alongside and watching the world’s best in real time every day has shaped my skating in more ways than one could count.
Yuna Kim, Yuzuru Hanyu, Javier Fernandez, Evgenia Medvedeva, Jason Brown, Jun Hwan Cha, Adam Rippon, to say the least, were all people that I could learn from and talk to on a daily basis. I’ll never forget being 8 years old and thinking Yuna was just another fantastic skater at the rink, and then turning on the TV and watching her win the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
That exposure alone to such icons of the sport allowed me to build such an education about what I think figure skating should look like. Art, sport, athletics, beauty, intensity, MAGIC!
It goes without saying that this “Magical Figure Skating Land” was created by none other than Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson. This is undeniably the best coaching duo our sport has ever seen. It’s insane how many times I have to pinch myself to remind myself that they are, in fact, MY coaches. Their experience in the sport is simply unparalleled, and their knowledge of the skating process and philosophy could fill a library. They are the parents of the rink and guide me through everything.
In 2020, when the world went on pause and all my international training mates had to return to their respectful countries, it gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to build such close coach-skater relationships with them. If there were positives to take away from 2020, number one would be the connection I built with them. I got the chance to work with Brian and Tracy so frequently that it made me feel like a million dollars being taught so much by the world’s best. It was that connection and relationship that I truly believe enabled me to land my first quad just six months after returning to the ice, and furthermore, medal at the virtual Canadian Challenge competition a month or so later.
Now in 2022, being a senior member of the Canadian National Team, having participated in events up to the Four Continent Championships and preparing for my first Senior Grand Prix season, I feel that that 8-year old me marvelling at the TV screen watching Yuna win gold is so, so proud of how we are doing. Most of those big names that I grew up skating with have retired from competitive sports, but one of my biggest goals is to be what they were to me for the younger skaters I skate with now. It is that reminder and my overall determination to be the best I can be that fuels me each day to work as hard as I can to make my goals in figure skating a reality.
Until next next time everyone! I hope I was able to share a little bit about my experience growing up figure skating at the Cricket to all of you.