When the 2019 Canada Winter Games hits Red Deer this winter, one figure skater will be representing Port Alberni.
Kari Trott, of the Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club, is one of two Special Olympics BC skaters that will take the ice. Trott, along with Vancouver’s Jeff Leung, will be competing alongside the province’s top young athletes from Feb. 15 until Mar. 3. The 2019 Canada Winter Games will involve up to 3,600 athletes, managers, and coaches in 19 sports, as well as more than 20,000 visitors.
“At the Canada Games, Special Olympics athletes have the chance to show their abilities and dedication to sport right alongside the rest of our country’s top young athletes,” said Jean Tetarenko, Special Olympics BC Competition and Youth Coordinator. “Kari and Jeff will do everyone proud, and we look forward to cheering them on.”
Trott was selected for the national competition by an accumulation of points from her last three competitions. Most recently, she earned gold at the Interclub competition in Campbell River in November.
“Kari has done really well with her competitions, so that has enabled her to be looked at,” said Jean Leshures, the club’s director of skating. “It’s a pretty big deal. She puts a lot of time in with the Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club.”
Trott, who has been skating since she was 15 years old, volunteers with the club as a program assistant when she isn’t practicing or working at Slammer’s Gym. She was inspired by a close friend, as well as some of her favourite figure skating movies, to try out the sport. She joined the Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club 10 years ago, and the rest is history.
Trott learned back in December that she had earned a spot in the Winter Games.
“I was very shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t believe I made it. I actually FaceTimed my sister from Save-On-Foods to give her the news.”
Since the news was announced, Trott has been hard at work on her solo, choreographed by Leshures, and has been getting in some extra training with Ariel Spalding at Slammer’s Gym.
“It’s been really intense,” said Trott. “But [Ariel] pushes me to a good point. She’s really good at what she does.”
Trott is excited to watch the other events and performances, but she is also excited to visit Alberta. Red Deer will be the farthest she has travelled.
“It will definitely be a cool experience for me,” she said. “And it will be my second plane ride ever.”
The Mount Arrowsmith Skating Club hosts a winter carnival every two years. This year’s show, Beatlemania On Ice, takes place on Saturday, Feb. 23. But Trott will be missing a carnival for the first time in her skating career. She, along with fellow Special Olympics skaters Jamie Amos and Matt McDonald, will be travelling to Vernon, B.C. between Feb. 21-23 for the provincial championships. Trott will continue on to Red Deer for the Winter Games after the provincials are over.
“I’m counting down the days,” she said.