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It was Nicole Rogowsky’s first gold medal.

As a synchronized skater.

On January 21, Rogowsky competed in the 2017 Skate Manitoba Synchronized Championships with the University of Manitoba’s Ice Intrepid team in Morden, Manitoba. After the competition, the 18-year-old watched the broadcast on Shaw TV Winnipeg.

“It was really awesome … ” said Rogowsky. “There were a lot of camera angles … that you can’t see on an iPhone video.”

Rogowsky (first row, second from the left) join the University of Manitoba's Synchronized Skating Team Ice Intrepid last fall. In January, the team performed at Winterfest in Mississauga, Ontario. (Photo Credit: Sean McKinnon)

Rogowsky (first row, second from the left) joined the University of Manitoba’s Synchronized Skating Team, Ice Intrepid, last fall. In January, the team competed at Winterfest in Mississauga, Ontario. (Photo Credit: Sean McKinnon)

Rogowsky transitioned from singles to synchronized skating in 2016 “for a challenge.”

“It was a huge learning curve,” said Rogowsky. “I didn’t have any idea what the elements were.”

At three, Rogowsky joined the East. St. Paul Skating Club. She remembers her love for skating “started with a one-foot spin,” which should’ve been a two-foot spin. “My coach said ‘your foot needs to go down … ‘ And I said ‘I can’t. I’ll fall.’”

Her mom, Susan Zuk, remembers too. “The coach said, ‘Maybe put her in lessons … look at her, she’s spinning.’ Nicole was always known for her spins.”

As the Chair and Director of Communications for Skate Canada Manitoba, Zuk is highly involved in her daughter’s skating. At the Morden competition, Zuk announced, shot photos and was the social media guru.

“I find I learn because I never figure skated,” said Zuk. “It allows me to understand.”

Rogowsky’s first competition proved her resilience – a regional in Selkirk at seven years old – where she placed last. But Zuk stated her daughter realized in this sport there will be times you lose.

“ … she moved on,” said Zuk. ” … she decided ‘No, this wasn’t going to be the end.’ This sport has given her a strength, confidence, poise and determination that I don’t know where she otherwise would’ve gotten this from.”

Rogowsky – a member of the Stony Mountain Skating Club – became a decorated singles skater – reaching the junior level and making the pre-novice provincial team. In 2016, Skate Canada presented Rogowsky with the QUAD, an award for passing all four gold tests: free skate, skills, interpretive and dance.

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In April 2016, Rogowsky was presented with her QUAD, an award from Skate Canada for completing all four gold tests. Presented by Donna Yee, president of Skate Canada Manitoba. (Photo – Tammy Karatchuk)

Rogowsky’s determination also led to off-ice success. In 2016, she met royalty as a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh award and met Prince Edward.

“That was a fantastic experience,” said Rogowsky. “He was very down to earth to person. He was able to relate to us.”

For the award, Rogowsky had to fulfil components, such as recreation and volunteer. For skill development, she learned to play the saxophone.

“I was in all the bands I could,” said Rogowsky, who’s passionate about music. “When you feel the music … you actual feel when it feels good.”

Rogowsky’s career goal is obstetrics, and she’s enrolled in her first year of sciences at the U of M.

Currently, she’s working towards becoming a judge, and she coaches out of East St. Paul “where I started.”

Rogowsky’s first skating instructor was Gordon Linney, a well-known Manitoba coach who died in 2014.

“Mr. Linney had impact on me,” said Rogowsky. “We invited him to every Christmas and Thanksgiving. It was really heartbreaking when he passed away. He was like family … I am who I am because of him.”

Next, Ice Intrepid will compete February 11 and 12 at the 2017 Prairie Regional Synchronized Skating Championships in Warman, Saskatchewan. Should they win, they’ll travel to the 2017 Skate Canada Synchronized Canadian Championships, February 24 to 26 in Calgary, Alberta.

“That’d be super cool to go to nationals,” said Rogowsky. “I didn’t get a chance to go as a singles skater, so that’d be amazing.”

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For the full Shaw TV Winnipeg broadcast of the 2017 Skate Canada Manitoba Synchronized Skating Championships from Morden, Manitoba, click here.

Story is modified. Original version is published in the Selkirk Journal/Interlake Publishing, owned by Postmedia. To see the original, click here.

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