(March 26, 2009) – What is essential in the world of figure skating competitions? Without the volunteers, venue and vision there is no event. Without the officials there is no standard to be met and exceeded. The coaches and choreographers provide the foundations of knowledge and movement without which there would be no programs. When it comes right down to it though, the only thing that is really essential at a skating competition is skaters and ice.
In yesterday’s men’s competition we got the chance to see why Canada’s two-time national champion, Patrick Chan, has all of the essentials for succeeding not only in competition but in life. The fundamentals of a strong work ethic, pride in doing one’s best and obvious preparation and planning have landed Patrick in an enviable 3rd place finish after the short program.
In the world of men’s skating, Patrick’s ability to express music and share his passion for skating is what makes him a “special” skater. This quality in the skating world, for some, is valued even more than his intelligence and honesty. What makes me think about his future success in life are his essential qualities of optimism and humour that were in evidence as he playfully “ssshhhhhd” the crowd starting to boo as a result of his marks. It was great to see his grin and the underlying acknowledgement that, at the end of the day, this is “only skating”
To be able to skate well is essential if you are going to compete on the world stage and win. It can’t only be about winning though. For me it is often as exciting and satisfying as anything to see a skater from a lesser known country really rise through the terror they must be feeling during their short program at Worlds and do their best.
For figure skaters the love of steel on ice and movement to music is what is essential as that is where it all starts and finishes regardless of the level of ability or age.
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