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Okotoks skaters draw inspiration from idols

Even the best in the world have bad days, it’s how they react that makes them champions.
Canadian Olympian and current World silver medallist Kaetlyn Osmond displays her skills for the Okotoks Skating Club at the Murray Arena on Sept. 10 as part of the Be
Canadian Olympian and current World silver medallist Kaetlyn Osmond displays her skills for the Okotoks Skating Club at the Murray Arena on Sept. 10 as part of the Be Inspired program.

Even the best in the world have bad days, it’s how they react that makes them champions.

The Okotoks Skating Club’s Be Inspired seminar drew exactly that with Canadian Olympian Kaetlyn Osmond and So You Think You Can Dance competitor Tate McRae offering motivation to the next generation of Okotoks-area athletes on Sunday.

“It gives me hope to help me know that I’m doing what I need to do to be on the right path to be where they are,” said Okotoks skater Tim Pomares. “It was very relatable and made it more real just to know that they felt the same things that I feel so I know that’s normal and I don’t need to feel like I’m doing something wrong.”

Osmond, a three-time Canadian champion and 2017 World silver medallist, spoke of the difficulties she faced in recovering from a serious injury and self doubt she regularly deals with in a Q & A with the skaters.

She represented Canada at the 2014 Olympic Games and came home with silver in the team event.

“I never thought I would actually make it there myself, even after I was going there,” Osmond said.

“It just feels like such a surreal thing that happened to me. I never watched the Olympics growing up, never watched many figure skating competitions so I didn’t know what skating could actually become.”

That changed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver when Osmond watched Joannie Rochette’s emotional bronze-medal performance.

“I watched that Olympics and said that’s great for them and an opportunity that is amazing, but I never thought I would make it there,” she said. “It was just four years later that I happened to get there. I only skated because I love to skate, I like competing and love putting on shows.

“The competitions just fell into place.”

McRae shared a similar journey.

The 14-year-old initially hated dancing at her parent’s studio before finding the passion that lifted her to a second-runner-up performance on season 13 of So You Think You Can Dance.

“She blew me away with her passion, not just in dancing,” Pomares said. “But the way she spoke about dancing afterwards and the way she talked about the drive, the passion you have to have for a sport or performing art to be successful.”

On the ice, Osmond showcased all of the intricacies that go onto putting on a performance worthy of an Olympic or World Championship stage.

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“It was super-inspiring to see how it works when you get down to it,” said Pomares. “Not just seeing her on TV, competing and performing, but seeing her in practice and getting to see how she warms up and what exercises she does to get ready to do her big jumps and combinations.”

Canada’s best figure skater is a hero to many of the students.

“Kaetlyn Osmond is my favourite figure skater so when I found out I was like really?” said Okotoks skater Ireland Casey. “It was really cool to see her attempt all her doubles and triples and land them and to see her combo spins she could do.

“Some of the drills were really helpful because I’m having a lot of trouble with one of my jumps (the flip) and we focused on that.”

The skaters learned all of the elements that go into a routine from practice to performance.

Osmond’s coach Ravi Walia took the skaters through regular sessions the Olympian undertakes.

“It was surprising that she was coming, she’s my hero. I go to Stars on Ice every year for her,” said skater Chelsea Kuharski. “Your posture, you can’t be leaning down you’ve got to have your posture up and with crossovers you’ve got to cross your feet over then extend and then comeback.”

Be Inspired was the brainchild of Okotoks Skating Club coach Lisa Hilbert as a launching pad for the start of the skate season.

It wasn’t just the young skaters who left with a healthy dose of motivation.

“I wanted something to really inspire them and I knew that Kaetlyn is so close, from Edmonton, and Tate is from Calgary,” Hilbert said. “Those resources are so close and I thought why aren’t we tapping into that?

“I was very inspired by everyone today, too. I’m very thankful to be part of a club that supports the value of learning and the value of bringing these people in today. It was a cost and they still did it and I think everybody would have taken so much out of today.”


Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact rgreer@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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