Springboard to Greatness
Figure skating: the sport that never sleeps! I can’t believe that I have only been home for a week and it’s already the ISU World Juniors this week!
It started me thinking about World Juniors and the impact that it has on the sport. It is a fact of life that there are some skaters who flourish as Juniors and are never heard from again. Then there are others for whom the Junior World podium is a springboard to greatness.
I remember seeing Mao Asada and Yu-Na Kim at the World Junior Championships in Kitchener in 2005. Mao won that go around with Yu-Na in second. Also, on the radar way back then? A young Patrick Chan who finished 7th, Meagan Duhamel and former partner Ryan Arnold in 8th. Even Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were there; earning a world junior silver medal and the title the following year.
I came back to Toronto and told my Mom, a national level figure skating judge: “I am so excited for you to see who’s coming down the pipe. Skating is just going to keep getting better and better.” Tru’ dat.
That round of Juniors ultimately yielded 8 World titles and one bronze, three silvers, and three gold Olympic medals for Team Canada. Wow.
Recently – the names that springs to mind include Evgenia Medvedeva – Junior World champion in 2015 and then senior World champion in 2016 and 2017 and now Olympic silver medallist. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han won the title three times, won the World title in 2017 and an Olympic silver medal in 2018. Another name: Alina Zagitova who was Junior World champion a year ago and Olympic champion as of a couple of weeks ago.
Amazing accomplishments one and all.
I head back downtown on Saturday for the CBC Sports’ World Juniors show – can’t wait to see which stars emerge.
Tomorrow, look for a blog about my most recent Olympic experience and join me in my virtual living room on Wednesday, March 7 at 7:00 pm (ET) for Facebook Live.