Did You Know?

Did you know that Paige Lawrence, our Athlete Ambassador in Kingston, always wanted to be a cowgirl? Both her Dad and her brother were bull riders and top-notch rodeo competitors. Paige wants to keep the family tradition alive by taking up the sport of bull riding and bull fighting!

A Life Refocused

Four-time Canadian pair medalist and 2014 Olympian Paige Lawrence, 22, of Kipling, Saskatchewan is about to take on a new role at this week’s Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. Instead of performing and competing on the ice, Paige will be acting as the event’s Athlete Ambassador.

“Some of my responsibilities as Athlete Ambassador will be to do different meet and greets with the general public, to help out with the school groups that come to watch the practices, visit local figure skating clubs, assist with medal presentations, do interviews with the media and generally just be a support figure for the athletes!”

Paige is a natural for the job.

Combined with her bubbly and outgoing spirit, her experience from being at the event nine times means she’s got a lot of history to share. Her optimism and love for figure skating is infectious!

“I want the athletes to feel the positive vibes coming at them from myself and from the fans and the community, and I want everyone involved to enjoy this week to the utmost!”

Since competing last year at Olympics and Worlds with pair partner Rudi Sweigers, her life has gone through some enormous changes, a situation that has sent her into unfamiliar territory.

“To be honest, I hadn’t expected my skating career to be over when the season ended. I was raring to go for this year.  But after several talks between Rudi and myself we began to see we were wanting different things.”

Paige confesses that when the partnership officially ended, she felt like she was in mourning for the loss of her competitive career and the dreams that swirled around it.

“Very suddenly the most important things in my life disappeared and it took a while to learn how to deal with that loss. But I’m an optimist by nature and as hard as it was to have ended my partnership with Rudi, I believe there’s an opportunity to be found in every experience so I tried to focus and find that.”

For Paige, the hardest part about returning to “civilian” life has been redefining herself.

“For so long my identity has revolved around being an elite athlete and now that’s over.  It’s a very strange feeling to go from knowing exactly who you are and having a purpose that you strive towards every single day when you wake up … to questioning ‘who am I now?’ … and to be searching for a new purpose.  Oh yah, and I miss the weekly massages!!”

As she begins the journey towards her next big thing, she’s not sure what she will find.

“Maybe it’s backpacking like I did in Costa Rica or adding to my list of adrenaline pumping activities like bungee jumping, sky-diving and cliff-jumping. Whatever it is, I’m always looking for the next exciting thing to try … and there are so many possibilities!”

Paige isn’t sure how skating will fit into her new life. One thing she’s discovered she enjoys is assisting her coach Patty Hole with up-and-coming skaters. She thinks of it as a way of giving back to someone who has and continues to be such a strong role model and mentor.

Part of her message to young athletes back home and in Kingston this week is also about how to use the skills skating teaches. After her successful competitive career, she recognizes that the lessons learned from skating, through both good times and bad, are lessons that she’ll carry through the rest of her life.

“Skating has helped me become the confident, daring, hard-working, organized, goal-oriented, determined (some may say hard-headed but I think determined sounds nicer!), outgoing, teach-able, and responsible person that I am today.”

And Paige’s life is expanding.

She recently moved to Calgary and returned to university for the winter semester with a goal of eventually achieving a career in Sport Psychology.  She says it’s a brand new goal for her but she’s excited to see what comes from it.  She would also like to get into public and motivational speaking.

“I feel like I still have so much motivation inside of me and I would really love to be able to share my story, especially with other small town kids and athletes. I’d be happy to let them feed off of my energy and hopefully along the way kindle in them that tiny dream that every child carries within themselves.”

Paige’s own dream of becoming a cowgirl began when she was a tiny child riding horseback, chasing and rounding up horses with her Dad.

“I loved being outside whether it was helping my Mom in our garden, or “helping” Dad with his chores. I remember the pails of feed were almost the same size as me so more often than not I just ended up trying to pat all the wild horses while Dad did all the feeding! With my two brothers, I was always very independent and determined, so anything my brothers tried, I had to try too!”

She tried skating at age four when her parents enrolled her into the CanSkate program at their local club. Over the years, as her commitment to training grew along with her achievements, Paige began to realize the impact the sport was having on her life. Today her path in skating may be fuzzy but her love of the sport is as clear as ever.

“I’m sitting here trying to put into words what skating means to me and I realize I have a smile on my face.  That’s what skating means to me … a smile … happiness … a place where I feel more like myself than any other place in the world … an outlet where I made my most passionate dream come true.  Skating is the very center of who I am and how I live my life.”