After a two-year hiatus, NOTL figure skaters get a chance to show off their skills

The Meridian Credit Union Arena was overflowing with youthful cheers and sparkling uniforms on April 1 as figure skating made a post-pandemic comeback.

“It’s amazing to be back,” Amelia Stephenson said as she prepared to hit the ice Friday night.

It was Amelia’s very first figure skating challenge. She was originally scheduled to make her competitive debut in 2020, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.

As a result, there was a long waiting period for the day to show its movements.

“It’s both scary and fun,” she said.

Amelia said one of her best skills is her spirals and she definitely showed them when she hit the ice.

But a skater has to skate.

“I couldn’t go on the ice much during the pandemic. Most of the time I was roller skating.

The girls gathered at the arena on Friday for the first Star Challenge held at NOTL since the pandemic began.

“This is the time for pre-junior, junior and intermediate figure skaters to practice their skating routines, in a safe, non-competitive environment,” Lara Davidson said in an email on behalf of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Skating. Club.

“For the first time in two years, passionate skaters will have the chance to show off everything they’ve learned over the past few months to their friends and family.

In an interview at the arena, Davidson said it was vitally important that young athletes be able to start training again.

“2020 was the last time they were preparing for a (Star challenge) and then it got canceled and 2021 was kind of broke,” she said.

“So it’s been two years now and this year has been a bit better – more consistent. But, it looks like they’ve lost a year.

Heather Whitson said she was very happy to see her daughter back on the ice.

“It’s wonderful. This club makes these girls feel so special. They’ve been anticipating this for weeks, years, even,” Whitson said in an interview.

She said her daughter Taylor has been able to go to some outdoor rinks for the past two years, but lacked the structure provided by the Tiered Star Skating program.

Taylor coyly said it was good to get back on the ice and that she missed figure skating during the pandemic.

She shared some wise words as to why she loves skating.

“It’s because you can learn new things every day,” the seven-year-old said, unwittingly giving expert advice to anyone between the ages of one and 93.

As Taylor was being interviewed, a group of seven-year-olds stood nearby and watched intently. After the interview, they rushed over and said, “So are we going to be in the news too?”

When told they could pose for a photo, the group lit up like a Christmas tree and struggled to figure out who should stand where for their photoshoot.

“It’s just fun to figure skate,” said Norah Palmer, who received the Most Athletic Pre-Junior Skater award.

“I like to jump” her friend Added Kayla Thwaites. Kayla was named Pre-Junior Skater of the Year.

“It’s just the moves that I love,” Everett Oprendek said.

Julia Lebedev said she struggled during the pandemic because she couldn’t practice.

“I didn’t have a very tight grip on it. But since I started working with it, I’ve become very close to it,” Julia said.

Julia said she used to take classes at the Gale Center Arena in Niagara Falls.

“But at the Gale Center, they don’t teach you much. This place teaches you more,” she said.

“At the Gale Centre, I couldn’t make any moves. I couldn’t even lift my foot, but now I figure skate with no problem.

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