Poster for Liz's upcoming skating show.

Poster for Liz’s upcoming skating show.

If you’re a figure skating fan, you will already know that Canada’s Elizabeth Manley is a national treasure. This ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown’ won the Olympic Silver medal at the Calgary 1988 Olympics.

In her current incarnation, she is a wife, coach, author, spokesperson and activist. I have known Liz for a million years but it was truly over efforts to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer that we became friends. It is a cause that is close to both of us, having lost our mothers to this dreadful disease.

What makes Liz Manley one in a million is her open heart. She is honest and has shared all aspects of her life not just the successes. I love the fact that once again Liz is doing something to aid a cause she cares deeply about.

Manley struggled with depression during her skating career and is trying to help shine the spotlight on mental health issues, especially for young people with her upcoming skating show.

Not only is Manley giving the gift of organizing and headlining the show, it will make a great gift for the skating enthusiast in your life.

I asked her what putting this show together means for her:

“The city of Ottawa has always been the backbone of my career and being so involved with teen mental health over the years, because of my own personal experience with it, has inspired me to help the many organizing charities help the needs of our youth today. My friends such as Joannie Rochette , Elvis Stojko , Nancy Kerrigan and more are coming together to join me in raising the awareness of Teen Mental Health. Elizabeth Manley + Friends will be a show to remember and not miss in Ottawa Ontario at ScotiaBank Place Jan 26 , 2013. Please join us and support D.I.F.D and Youth Services Bureau and help our youth in need.”

At Skate Canada, we got the chance to talk:


This is from Manley’s website:


My name is Elizabeth Manley and I suffered from mental health issues. You may recall that I won the Silver Medal for Canada at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. The Olympics was the highlight of my career and maybe even my life but it didn’t come without some serious hardships. Training my entire life and giving up so much of what we call a normal life I found myself as a teen with a lot of emotional issues. My desire to be the best in the world at such a young age and going through family changes took its toll and I entered my journey to the Olympic s in 1983 suffering from serious emotional issues that I couldn’t understand or address.

I shut myself off from the world and was too scared to tell anyone how I was feeling because I was supposed to be a tough athlete. I was told to “Don’t complain” “Push through the emotion” “Never Give up”. I tried to hard to follow that coaching but within a few months I lost all of my hair and gained 30 lbs in water retention weight. No one knew what was happening to me, least of all me!

Sadly, I just couldn’t cope and so I did the unthinkable … I quit skating. I quit my dream of being an Olympian. But being a high performance athlete, I had special access to the medical community. I saw, Doctor after Doctor. Finally, I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and, at the tender age of 17, I was told I was having a nervous breakdown. I felt like my life could not get any lower. I was paralyzed with this disease. Finding help for my disease was very difficult in the 80’s but I finally did through something called Talk Therapy. I was scared to say the least but I committed myself to getting the real me back and it was harder than any physical work out I could ever have had. But I succeeded and finally returned to the sport I loved so much as the real me.  I won the Olympic Silver Medal in Calgary 4 years later.

There are thousands of teens across Canada today enduring what I had to endure — alone. They are too scared to ask for help or are afraid of being labeled with mental issues. The stigma is one of our greatest challenges right now. Our teens are helplessly on a path of life destruction and some are even taking their precious lives out of utter despair. My passion is to reach out to the by hosting this event, Elizabeth Manley and Friends,  and direct the proceeds to towards two very powerful resources focused on Teen Mental Health. Our children are our future and they need to know we are here to help. No one should live in silence and YSB Youth Services of Ottawa and D.I.F.D. Royal Ottawa are two organizations that provide the help our teens need.

You can join me, Elizabeth Manley and my Friends by participating as a sponsor or buying tickets to this great event January 26, 2013. Please join me and help this event, Elizabeth Manley and Friends, benefit two incredible organizations.


Elizabeth Manley


1988 Olympic and World Silver medalist,

1988 Olympic Freestyle Champion

3-time Canadian Champion

Member of the Order of Canada

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