Powell River Skating Club member Samantha Ratzlaff skated onto the ice February 3 at the Vancouver Island Regional Championships in Nanaimo, and came home with a bronze and silver medal for her Star 2 Free skate solo performance.
“I was really into it, and it’s fun,” said 12-year-old Ratzlaff about the competition.
Ratzlaff has been figure skating for about five years and is coached by Sheila Paquette and Rachelle Ford, as well as Sonja Jensen and Barb Klippenstein.
“Samantha is an essential part of our CanSkate coaching team, and the most focused and dedicated young athlete,” said Paquette. “We are all so proud of her.”
CanSkate is a national all-ages program that teaches beginners to skate. Many participants have gone on to the Olympics and the National Hockey League. Ratzlaff is currently an assistant coach, working with mostly three-year-olds. Her mom, Sandy Ratzlaff, said her daughter “ is really good at coaching, and she enjoys it.”
During her performance, competing against eight others, Ratzlaff skated to Katy Perry’s song “Roar.”
She said she was feeling “pumped” while out on the ice.
“I was having a lot of fun out there and just focusing the best I could in order to not freak out and let my nerves get the best of me,” said Ratzlaff.
Practicing four hours a week on top of school keeps her busy.
“My favourite skating move at the moment is the flip,” she adds.
The tricky move involves taking off from a back inside edge and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Next she wants to learn the lutz and axel, two popular but challenging moves.
“When she was little she really wanted to skate, she skipped a couple levels and then we found figure skating, and that was it,” said Sandy.
Samantha’s goals are ambitious and she has her eye on the Olympics for the future. For now she is happy to have won bronze for her solo competition and silver for elements (being judged on each move of that performance).
Powell River Skating Club has big plans for next year, according to Paquette, including the addition of new coaches, expanding the CanSkate and STARskate programs and offering more opportunities for skaters of all ages to get out on the ice.