“For The Love of Skating”
Meet Kimberly Moon-Chong. When Kimberly was three and a half years old, she asked her mom if she could play hockey. Wanting her child to learn to skate, her mom enrolled her in a figure skating program at the West Toronto Figure Skating Club. It was here that Kimberly met her first coach, Donna Ijiima. As she started to train more in figure skating her desire to play hockey gradually shifted. She enjoyed the elegant movements and not having to lug around all the heavy equipment. Years went by and Kimberly continued to learn and master the basics with Donna at The West Toronto Skating Club.
At the age of 10, Kimberly changed clubs and began to skate at the York Region Figure Skating Academy with Greek National Champion Katerina Papafotiou. She continued to train here for the rest of her skating career. Training was a joy to Kimberly. She got a thrill out of her triple/triple combinations, triple lutzes and strived to always be her personal best. All of this culminated in a life-defining moment when she won the 2010 Novice Ladies National Championships. “Looking back on it now, I really felt like I was onto something big” Kimberly shared.
Then in the off-season of 2010, things began to shift. She had gotten new boots, that didn’t quite fit right. The leather felt ridged, and Kimberly struggled both in training and competition. “I struggled to get back into the same state of mind that I was in, coming off my National Title win.”
As the struggles continued, Kimberly started to move into a place of fear and doubt. She had lost the hunger for the podium she once so strongly craved. It did not help matters that her friends and previous teammates seemed to be moving onward and upward without her. This had a profound impact on Kimberly and on April 2, 2012, she decided to let go of competitive figure skating.
“I looked up at my mom in the viewing area and exited the session about 20 minutes in. That one glance I gave told her it was time for me to go. We had spent enough time trying to make it work, but I just was not able to fill the shoes of my own ghost from 2010.”
Since that day, Kimberly remained active and competed in a variety of other sports and activities, such as martial arts (boxing/ kickboxing/ taekwondo/muay thai), visual arts, skiing/snowboarding, and inline skating. Kimberly graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and a Masters in Musicology.
“Keeping active was always a priority for me and I was constantly trying to find something that would bring me the joy that figure skating once did,” explained Kimberly.
In the winter of 2020, without even knowing it, Kimberly began her journey back to the ice. A former teammate called explaining that as a choreographer he was looking for someone to film short solos to upload to social media. Eventually, they became a dynamic duo, taking turns filming one another, growing their social media presence while doing what they love along that way. Before she knew it, with the pressure of strict training routines and competitions a thing of the past, Kimberly rediscovered the joy that skating once brought her. Her hope now is to share the artistry of the sport with others as she continues to lace up, hit the ice, share Instagram Reels and skate simply because she loves it.
Skate Canada’s Skate for Life programs support and encourage skating for wellbeing, health and enjoyment. Information about our programs can be found at www.skatecanada.ca
The Skate Canada Community Story Series will cover exciting stories from our sections and community skaters. If you have a story from your club or section that you would like to share with us, we would love too here from you. Please contact Skate Canada at [email protected]