Figure Skating in Northern Ontario
Elvis and Oksana?
My work recently found me for the first time in one of our local arenas. Members of the Sudbury District Skating Club (forgive me if I have the name wrong) were practicing during this visit. I love figure skating and soon found my attention was more firmly fixed on the activity on the ice than on the job at hand. (apologies to my client)
I sat for some time after my appointment was concluded and watched perhaps 15-20 young people practicing various moves, jumps and routines. Every child there was obviously not a new comer to the sport of figure skating. I was surprised and captivated to see so many very small people doing things that would have landed most of us quickly and with some urgency into hospital.
In the midst of all this exciting talent I found my eyes were continually drawn back to two of the children in particular. There were three things you immediately noticed about both these children, their clearly displayed love and joy of skating, their unending courage in working at very difficult and, to me frightening looking, jumps and spins, and their technical ability in getting those moves right. Of course, those three qualities were found in in all the young people out there that evening.
Where these two stood out.... please bear with me here as I stumble to find the words to describe the absolute glow that came from these two. They both have a presence and dignity, talent and depth of style on the ice that is far beyond their few years on this planet. Style! They have it. Great unscalable hills of it!
As you watched him practice alone in a corner the young man seemed the typical combination of quiet and almost shy mixed with daredevil mischief that you find in many boys. Then he performed a routine to Elvis tunes, and what can I say, other than Elvis eat your heart out? The young man became flirty, flamboyant, and was having way too much fun out there. He rocks!! He made me think that another Elvis has some serious competition growing up right here in our little town.
As I said I love figure skating and even today can close my eyes and still so easily envision Oksana on the ice all those years ago finishing the routine that won her Olympic Gold. Her grace and beauty went far beyond having the technical side of things being done to absolute perfection. As her arms fluttered gently to the ice she WAS grace personified right there in front of us to show us a piece of what is best and brightest in our world. The young lady I watched at our arena continually brought thoughts of Oksana to mind. When she skated and smiled she looked transported to some wonderful fairyland of magic and fluid motion. And the best part of all, this young woman has the ability to take us with her! Her magic is projected off the ice and into the stands where it can touch us all and lift us away from the rushed activity of our day to day lives. The world was a quieter place watching her skate, a better place with more beauty than I remembered it having, and way more class.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you Rachel and Challen for giving me a few moments that have been in my mind daily since seeing you. You've made an impression. I will be watching your progress and intend to be there the day that you win the rest of the hearts in Northern Ontario, and your own piece of Olympic Gold.
- Mona Sims
Early winter 2003
(Note: These two young people are brother and sister. I was able to get permission to use their photos on this site. I have not included their last names or the town they live it to protect their privacy. Meeting them has ultimately resulted in this section of the site being built for the Sudbury Skating Club and the Bratz Corner section for children as well.
If you too want to watch as they put Northern Ontario into the hearts and minds of the skating world just visit some of our many local competitions. Trust me, you'll know them when you see them skate.)