An Interlake Regional memory – Capturing a golden figure skating Kodiak moment

When I skated, January meant one thing – Interlake Regionals. The first year the Arborg Skating Club competed, the club claimed two medals: a gold and bronze.

Well, technically we brought home three medals.

My older sister, Jennifer, and I are only 20 months apart. As kids, we fought, constantly.

Skating together in 1981. Tammy, in the blue jacket; Jennifer, in red jacket.

One time, we were buckled in our car seats. Dad heard another fight ensue. He turned to see his angels, each with the others ponytail in their tiny fist, head kinked to the side and wailing at the top of their lungs. Dad calls this the missed Kodiak moment.

We weren’t always trying to maim each other, but when we started to skate, I have a feeling my parents were relieved we weren’t in the same group.

Jenn was fast-tracked through CanSkate and after two years she went into CanFigure. CanFigure is similar to STARSkate.

I wished to be so lucky and took every opportunity to show off my sloppy skills to the coaches. My choppy cross-cuts and messy three-turns kept me right where I belonged. I have all the retro CanSkate badges to prove it.

I joined Skate Canada, or CFSA as it was back then, a year before Jenn – she took a break from skating. When Jenn returned, even though I was slightly ahead in dance, she and I started to compete at the same level. I really thought the one year would matter, for some crazy reason.

The Interlake Regionals in Fisher Branch, Manitoba were our first competition – ever. The Arborg Skating Club’s new coach, Joanne Hough, had been with us for just over three months. Jenn quickly picked up a flip, Lutz and loop, plus she had a killer scratch-spin. I had a half-Lutz, half-flip, two-waltz jumps in a row, and a sit-spin that looked like a courtesy.

Jenn and I would compete in singles. Then our coach had a great idea. Since Jenn and I were in the same dance level, why not compete in dance? Another chance at a medal! How awesome was that? What could go wrong?

Every chance I had, even on our rink at home, I trained our dances, alone. Jenn and I barely danced together. Joanne told my parents at one point she didn’t think we’d do well at the competition unless we started to practice more. After that, we only had time for one more practice. Half-an-hour of dance. Joanne added in head movements for the second dance, and it actually looked pretty neat.

On the day of the competition in Fisher Branch, my family was in for a long day. Singles in the morning, and dance in the evening.

Luckily, our level in singles was first. Jenn was a strong medal contender, but unfortunately, she fell on her flip. I had to skate right after her – and I’ll never forget her face when she got off the ice. In a word, Jenn looked crushed. She knew she had a chance at a medal if she had skated well. And with the slip of a blade, it was gone.

Skaters glide to gold – Interlake Spectator, 1989. My Mom had someone make our matching outfits. I loved mine. It was black with silver inserts. Jenn had the same one, in gold.

After my 10th place performance, I thought it’s OK, we have another crack at a medal in the dance tonight. We needed to perform two perfect dances. I took competition seriously, maybe too seriously. My Dad filmed the regionals, and I swear you can see veins as they pulsed in my head. Two skaters almost careened into me – I actually stared them down. It’s hilarious how much I wanted to win.

And 25 years ago today, we did win. I’ll never forget the crush of people when the judges posted the results. And how my coach, Joanne, seemed to saunter through the chaos and a pathway cleared. I’ll never forget when my coach turned to me with her index finger held up and said “first!” I stared at Joanne for a brief second and then raced to the dressing room to tell Jenn. We did it! We won the gold!

Joanne told us later we received first place ordinals from all the judges on both dances, just to sweeten the pot.

It’s a special moment and medal, and I share with my older sister. When I look back on the footage of that day, we tower over the other skaters. Not just because we were on the top step, but because we a bit older than them, too.

But, some things never change. In the footage, I appear to I look down and say something. Jenn says something back, then she looks into the crowd, with a sweet smile.

I said to Jenn: “I think I’m going to cry.

Jenn replied: “You do, and I’ll push you off.”

Now, that’s a Kodiak moment!

*********************************

Results from the Skate Canada: Skate Manitoba Interlake Regionals

Credit: Skate Manitoba

Category Segment
Sr. Bronze Women Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Sr. Bronze Men Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Jr. Bronze Women 11/O Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Jr. Bronze Women 10/U Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Preliminary Women 10/O Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Preliminary Women 9/U Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Men 9/O Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Women 9/O Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Women 8/U Freeskate Entries Result
Free Skating Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Compulsory Elements Entries Result
Compulsory Elements Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Introductory Interpretive Entries Result
Interpretive Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Sr. Bronze / Jr Bronze Compulsory Spins Entries Result
Spins Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Preliminary Compulsory Spins Entries Result
Spins Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Compulsory Spins Entries Result
Spins Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Jr. Bronze / Preliminary Team Event Entries Result
Team Event Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Pre-Preliminary Team Event Entries Result
Team Event Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Entry Level Team Event Flt A Entries Result
Team Event Starting Order / Detailed Classification
Entry Level Team Event Flt B Entries Result
Team Event Starting Order / Detailed Classification

Created by IceCalc

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About Tammy Karatchuk

Freelance Reporter/Photojournalist for Interlake Publishing. Social Media Strategist for the Arborg & District Multicultural Heritage Village. Red River College Creative Communications. #CreComm, 2011. Former 680 CJOB reporter/weekend anchor; Edmonton Shaw TV broadcaster; and Edmonton Journal figure skating reporter. Non-fiction and contemporary romantic fiction writer. Figure skater. Speedwalker.
This entry was posted in Arborg, Arborg & District Arena, Arborg Skating Club, Canadian Figure Skating Association, double-toe loop, figure skating, ice dance, ice skating, Interlake, Interlake Regionals, Interlake Spectator, Olympics, Skate Canada, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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