Timing is indeed everything, and Ontario’s Alison Schumacher picked an ideal time to lay down her best short program of the season.
The 12-year-old, 4’4” sparkplug was lights-out Tuesday during the novice women’s short program at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, posting a personal best 38.97 to vault into top spot, just ahead of Canadian champion Rachel Pettitt of Yukon (pictured) at 38.89.
“I really wanted to skate my personal best here, and I was able to do that, so I’m pretty excited going into the free program (Thursday),” says Schumacher, who trains alongside Canadian national team member Elladj Baldé in Detroit.
Novice and Special Olympics competitors took centre stage Tuesday during the second full day of figure skating competition at these Games.
In novice pair, the sibling tandem of Olivia and Mackenzie Boys-Eddy, reigning national silver medallists, lead after the short program at 34.88, just in front of Quebec’s Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland (33.13).
“We are so proud to represent Team Ontario, and we just want to do our best to bring the points to the team,” says Mackenzie.
“It’s probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever performed in front of, and the cheering was so loud,” adds Olivia.
“Our ultimate goal is the 2022 Olympics, so we think this event is a big step towards that goal.”
Fresh off a silver medal performance at the Canadian championships last month, Quebec’s Gabriel Farand holds down top spot after scoring 40.58 in the novice men’s short program. Closing out competition Tuesday was the novice pattern dance, which sees Canadian champions Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha of Quebec in the gold medal position heading into Thursday’s free dance.
In the Special Olympics competition, Stephanie Divin of the host B.C. team leads after the Special Olympics Women Level 2 Elements, while Alberta’s Meg Ohsada is in top spot following Women’s Level 3 Elements.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
There is some serious talent in the Boys-Eddy family, and it isn’t confined to the rink.
Olivia and Mackenzie Boys-Eddy of Team Ontario lead the pack following Tuesday’s novice pair short program, but they’re making headlines off the ice, as well.
An avid musician, 16-year-old Mackenzie recorded and performed their short program music, a cover of Percy Mayfield’s classic “Hit the Road, Jack.”
“I learned to play the piano was I was really young and learned that song when I was 10 or 11,” recalls Mackenzie. “I’ve played it for so many years and it is such a fun song, so I decided to record my own version of it and produce it with a string section and a horn section.”
Not to be outdone by her big brother, Olivia seems to have a little show business in her as well. The 12-year-old served as a skating stunt double in the Ryan Reynolds movie “The Captive.”
“It was just an amazing experience,” says Olivia, who stands 4’7”. “I’ve never done anything like that before. They were looking for someone who could do a death spiral, was small, had blue eyes and blonde hair.
“I guess that was me,” she adds with a laugh.
FOLLOWING IN GRANDFATHER’S FOOTSTEPS?
Special Olympian Stephanie Divin comes from champion bloodlines, and she may end up leaving Prince George with a medal of her own.
Her grandfather, Karol Divin, represented then-Czechoslovakia in three Olympic Winter Games (1956, 1960, 1964), winning a silver medal in 1960. For those keeping score, Canada’s Donald Jackson, the 1962 world champion, shared the same podium as Divin after claiming bronze.
“That is pretty exciting to have a grandfather who is famous,” says Stephanie. “I would like to skate my best here and enjoy my memories.”
So far, so good. Stephanie Divin is in top spot after the Special Olympics Women’s Stage 2 Elements.
The first wave of figure skating medals will be decided Wednesday with free programs in pre-novice men’s (10:15 am PT), ice dance (11:50 am), pair (4:50 pm) and women’s (5:35 pm) disciplines. The Special Olympics Men Free Programs (Levels 2 and 3) will be staged Wednesday beginning at 12:50 pm. Medal ceremonies for pre-novice, novice and Special Olympics will be handed out Thursday night.
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