Manitoulin figure skaters rub elbows with celebrities at Canadian Nationals

OTTAWA—Earlier this month, three members of the Skate Canada Manitoulin club travelled to Ottawa to attend the National Skating Championships, giving the girls the opportunity to watch some of their skating icons live and gain inspiration for their own routines.

“It was really cool,” said 11-year-old Shaylee Taylor of her National experience. “My favourite part was meeting all the skaters. We got to meet Kaetlyn Osmond and Kurt Browning.”

“I really enjoyed watching the pairs like Meagan (Duhamel) and Eric (Radford),” added 15-year-old Karissa Merrylees. “They are from Sudbury and have done a seminar with us (Skate Canada Manitoulin) and skated in our carnival two years ago.”

Karissa also told The Expositor that she especially enjoyed watching Kaetlyn Osmond, gaining inspiration for her own routines.

“We have really similar choices in music and style so it was neat to watch her and get ideas to incorporate into my own routines,” said Karissa. “She puts on such a great show when she performs—its so inspiring to watch her. It was neat meeting her too. She’s really nice.”

For 11-year-old Jasmine Clark, rubbing elbows with skating celebrities was a definite highlight of the trip.

“It was cool meeting everyone and getting photos with them,” said Jasmine. “I really liked the dance routines too. They are fast and fun.”

All three girls said that they hope to attend Nationals one day and that getting to attend the recent event inspired them to work harder to achieve that goal.

“I love skating,” shared Karissa. “It’s something all of my own. It is the main motivation in my life and keeps me focussed. Ever since watching the Nationals on TV when I was four, I have dreamed about skating in the event.”

For Shaylee and Jasmine, they have also been dreaming of Nationals since they were very young and continue to grow as skaters, striving towards a National dream.

All three girls, along with the rest of their Skate Manitoulin Club, competed and excelled at the Rainbow Interclub in Garson last week, bringing home many first place medals.

The club will be holding its annual Island Skate the last weekend of March (March 28-30) at the Northeast Town Recreation Centre.

Robin Burridge