An Interlake Regional Memory – Capturing a Golden Figure Skating Kodak Moment

Today is 25 years since my older sister and I won the gold medal in Primary Dance at the Interlake Regional competition in Fisher Branch. Yes, 1989. For years, I thought we were the first Arborg skaters to achieve this feat. The next year, another Arborg duo repeated our win. Cool, modern day dynasty.

After researching the archives, I learned 1989 wasn’t the first year the Arborg Skating Club attended the Interlake Regionals. In the late-70s and early-80s, the Arborg SC owned the podium.

In 1979, the Primary Dance gold medal went the Arborg Skating Club’s Penny Helgason and Darcie Eliuk.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

When I skated, January meant one thing – Interlake Regionals.

In 1989, when a large contingent from the Arborg Skating Club competed for the first time in several years, 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 into our car seats. Dad heard another fight ensue. He turned to see his angels, each with the other’s ponytail in their tiny fists, head kinked to the side and wailing at the top of their lungs. Dad calls this the missed Kodak moment.

We weren’t always trying to maim each other, but when we started to skate.

I worked my way through CanSkate, with all the retro badges as proof.

My sister “retired” in 1987 – all skaters retire now, not just the big leaguers. The upcoming season, I was enrolled in to the CFSA (Canadian Figure Skating Association) or private lessons. CFSA changed their name to Skate Canada in 1996.

After a year, my sister hobbled out of retirement, and she returned the ice. Even though I was slightly ahead in dance, we competed at the same level. 

Our first competition was the 1989 Interlake Regionals in Fisher Branch, Manitoba. The Arborg Skating Club’s new coach, Joanne Hough, had been with us for about three months. When my sister retired, she was learning elements that would be equal to the Canadian STAR program: sit-spin, Salchow, etc. With my coach, my sister mastered her flip, sit-spin, loop, She also had a killer scratch spin.

My repertoire included a half-Lutz, half-flip, two-waltz jumps in a row, and a sit-spin that looked like a curtsey.

At the regionals, my sister and I competed in singles. Then our coach had a great idea. Since we were at same dance level, why not compete for another medal? In dance? Um, another medal? Sign me up! I mean, what could go wrong?

Every chance I had, even on our rink my dad made us at home, I trained our dances. Alone. My sister and I barely practiced together. At one point, Joanne told my parents she didn’t think we’d do well unless we started to practice more. After that, we had one more session. A half-an-hour of dance. Joanne added in head movements for the second dance, and it looked pretty neat.

On the day of the competition in Fisher Branch, we were 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 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.

After my 10th place performance, I thought it’s okay, 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 videoed the event, and I swear you can see veins pulse in my head. Two skaters almost careened into me – I actually stared them down. It was hilarious – in hindsight – 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 sauntered through the chaos and a pathway cleared for her. I’ll never forget when she turned to me with her index finger held up and said “First!” I stared at Joanne for a brief second – totally in disbelief – and then I 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.

It’s a special moment and medal that 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 were a couple years older.

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 Kodak 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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