Grande Prairie, Alberta
In the six-minute warm up, before the music began and the judges picked up their pens, there was something particular about Yukon figure skater Bryn Hoffman. While others on the rink occasionally took spills, the only part of Hoffman to touch the ice were her skates.
Fortunately, this visible distinction carried over into competition, winning Hoffman, 12, her second gold medal of the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, on Wednesday.
“It was a good thing not to fall, because when you fall in the warm up, it rattles you,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman’s gold in the long program matched the gold she won the previous night in the short program, together earning her a third gold for best overall in the Ladies 3 division.
Pulling an axel, double salchow, double loop, double flip and some spins out of her repertoire, Hoffman only took a minor fall during her routine.
“I was happy because I haven’t landed a double-double combination before in competition and that was the first time I did it,” said Hoffman, referring to her double flip, double toe combination.
“I like the Arctic Games because there are a whole bunch of people from other countries around and it’s a lot more fun than just a regular competition.”
Hoffman was not the only Yukoner whose performance led to the playing of Oh Canada during the medal ceremony.
Ladies 4 skater Teneil Caron, 17, gave an unblemished performance Wednesday en route to a gold in the long program. The previous evening Caron also rose to the occasion, taking silver in the short program. The two performances combined put her in second overall.
“I feel pretty good, and I’m a little sick so I feel I did a really good performance,” said Caron. “I was really strong and my jumps were huge – even my flying sit (spin) was humongous. I was nervous about my flying sit.”
Putting her to the top was a bevy of doubles, including double flip, double toe, double lutz, double loop, double salchow, plus an axel and some combinations, only putting a hand on the ice in the double loop.
Like many serious athletes, Caron did not just have nerves to overcome but some mental demons as well.
“I was really nervous because I was having such good skates for the last two days, having humongous jumps and landing everything, I was nervous that today would be my bad day,” she said. “In figure skating sometimes you just have a bad day and I haven’t had a bad day here yet.”
Yukon’s Maya Austin, 12, also gave a medal-worthy performance winning bronze in the long program for the Ladies 2 division and also came seventh in the short the previous night.
“It was a lot better than yesterday; my jumps were better,” said Austin. “I fell on my double loop and I had a touch down on my double salchow. Today was perfect, no falls and my spins were perfect.
“I like to be here because my best friends are here from Russia, that I met two years ago in Yellowknife.”
Earning Austin a trip to the medal ceremony were a successful double salchow, double loop, lutz and various combinations.
“Lately I haven’t been able to pull off a double loop and I pulled it off today,” said Austin. “That was exiting to hear my coaches scream.”
The Yukon’s other two skaters in Grande Prairie may not have won a medal, but showed consistency in their results. Ladies 1 skater Kelcy Armstrong came fourth both nights while teammate Ariel House finished ninth in the short and long programs.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org