February 2002
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Figure Skating: Canadian Junior National Championships
By: Katie Norman, SNN Editor, Bishops College, St. John's, NF

This winter St. John's and Mount Pearl hosted the 2002 Bank of Montreal Junior National Championships of figure skating. The competition took place from Wednesday January 23rd to Saturday January 26th at Mile One Stadium, Mount Pearl Glacier and Prince of Wales Arena. The first day was set up for practice only as were mornings and some other slots during the week. It proved to be a good few days of solid competition comprised of some of the nation's top up-and-coming skaters who someday may be competing in the Olympics.

There were three levels of skaters represented during the event; juvenile, pre-novice and novice. As well there were many different events, both pairs and singles skating. Athletes participated in compulsory dance, free dance, short program, variation, and rhythm dance. All competing took place at The Glacier and Mile One, with Mile One being the main venue.

I was fortunate enough to get to attend some of these events during the eventful few days. The professionalism and talent of the young athletes was quite obvious from their rigorous practices and sportsmanship. These young skaters experience many emotions during competition – excitement, exhilaration, and a little trepidation.

From their inaugural steps on the ice to the national championships, the road that brought these young competitors here was indeed a thrilling one.

From triple lutz, triple salchow, double axels, triple toe loops to the Foxtrot and Waltz, these young athletes provided their audience and fans with an exciting few days of competition.

While they were visiting St. John's they got an opportunity to explore the city and meet fellow athletes from all over the country. It also proved helpful to skating groups around the city who got to come and watch other skaters perform.

These types of events are sure to become more the norm in St. John's with its rampant downtown development.

The final two events were novice free dance (pairs) and novice men's free program. These athletes ranged in age from 11 to 18. During these events some wondrous talents were displayed which was quite inspiring to watch. In fact it made me want to be a figure skater, until I realized that at 18 I would be too old to begin skating competitively. For that is the nature of the sport, youth is your greatest entity.

Overall the events were conducted with fine sportsmanship. It was often shocking to find out the ages of some of the athletes because they seemed to carry themselves so maturely.

This event showed the fine skaters that Canada's figure skating program is turning out and proves to be of great delight to Canada's Olympic team.

Here are the results of each competition as well as photos of the athletes.

Novice Men Free
Eric Radford (Central Ontario) First Place
Maxime-Billy Fortin (Quebec) Second Place
Michael Craigmyle (BC) Third Place

Novice Free Dance
Alice Graham & Eric Neumann-Aubichon (Northern Ontario)First Place
Mylène Théroux & Jonathan Pelletier (Quebec) Second Place
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (Western Ontario) Third Place

Pre-Novice Rhythm Dance
Amy Leslie & Klay Nichol(Manitoba) First Place
Mylène Lamoureux & Michael Mee(Quebec) Second Place
Sarah Lenko & Michael Whitehead(Central Ontario) Third Place

Pre-Novice Ladies Free
Catherine Hébert (Quebec) First Place
Nicole Trach(Central Ontario) Second Place
Cécilia Gauvin (Quebec) Third Place

Juvenile Variation Dance
Catherine Michaud & Guillaume Thibault(Quebec) First Place
Joanna Lenko & Mitchell Islam (Central Ontario) Second Place
Erin Gillespie & John-Paul Nagle(Eastern Ontario) Third Place


Skaters Skaters Skaters

Skaters Skaters Skaters

Check out Part 2 of my report on the Canadian Junior Figure Skating Championships: Critique of Novice Dance