"Being able to skate for the pure joy of skating has ignited a fire in us"
Gold Ice Novice competing at Winterfest in January 2020. (Credits: Danielle Earl Photography)
Gold Ice has a long history of producing championship synchronized skating teams. Representing Skate Canada Brampton-Chinguacousy, all skaters come from all across the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada, and are trained by three young and talented coaches.
Gold Ice was founded in 1999 under the direction of Wendy Coates. "Over the years, Gold Ice has developed a reputation of producing successful teams including several national and world medals," said Jessica Brown, Gold Ice head coach.
"We love working together and collaborating to get the most out of teams and skaters. Our program is unique because we pride ourselves on not only developing strong basic skating skills and fundamentals, but we also create an environment the promotes community, support, and diversity," Jessica Brown continued.
"Junior and Senior athletes in the singles, pairs and ice dance disciplines are able to continue training as they are considered on the “Olympic pathway” and therefore are classified as elite athletes. Unfortunately, as synchronized skating is not yet an Olympic discipline, our skaters do not qualify for this exemption.
Information and regulations are changing frequently so we continue to stay in contact with our municipal and provincial government and are hopeful that we will be able to be back training on the ice again soon. As with last season, we know that we will be able to pivot and adjust as required in order to ensure our skaters are trained and prepared for whatever this competitive season will bring!" explained Andrea Nesbitt who has been coaching with Gold Ice for 13 seasons now.
We have witnessed fatigue and drop in motivation from our stakeholders, however, Gold Ice operates as a family and support system so our community has helped its membership push through these trying times while standing by one another," said Jessica.
New ways to train
Indeed, Gold Ice teams have found new ways to train their skaters off the ice via Zoom by incorporating a variety of different off-ice classes that focus on strength, flexibility, and movement. "With limited ice time and our teams not being able to train as a whole, we have used this past year to focus on turn quality, stroking, and building our skaters' individual skating skill-set. While this has been refreshing, we are very much looking forward to the day we can skate on arms again, practice as a team, and compete!"
According to Gold Ice coaches, training in smaller groups at various points in the season turned out to be an interesting and rewarding surprise. "It was a great way to accelerate the training for our new team members, and we were able to focus a lot more on individual skating technique. Moving our off-ice training into the virtual space opened up many doors for being able to work with various instructors from around Canada and the world!
In the end, we are grateful for the opportunity this season provided to rediscover our true passions for the sport. Being able to skate for the pure joy of skating has ignited a fire in us. Our athletes are more determined and motivated than ever, and we are feeling optimistic and hopeful for the future," said Andrea Nesbitt.
Learn more about Gold Ice and how they are preparing for next season in a few days on Jura Synchro! Stay tuned!