Yukon pairs skater struggles in Canada Challenge

In her short pairs skating career, Arctic Edge skater Millie Austin has already had some ups and downs. Most recently, it was the latter.

In her short pairs skating career, Arctic Edge skater Millie Austin has already had some ups and downs. Most recently, it was the latter.

“I don’t know if we were super happy about how we skated, but we were happy about the fact that, even with some mistakes, we were still able to put in some good elements,” said Austin.

Competing at the 2011 BMO Skate Canada Western and Eastern Challenge over the weekend in Mississauga, Ontario, Austin and partner Braeden Donaldson, from BC, finished 11th in the short and long programs for 11th overall (out of 11) in the junior pairs division.

“It was up and down; there were some really good parts and there were some parts where we struggled a little bit,” said Austin. “We were talking together through the performance. If there was a mistake we’d talk to each other and kind of regroup before the next element so we could finish our program strong.

“I don’t think people can tell from the stands that we talk to each other, but, for sure, everyone does it. If you don’t communicate, you can definitely have problems because you can’t just change something without the other person knowing.”

Austin, who is studying in her first year at McGill University in Montreal, only made the switch from singles to pairs in June, becoming Arctic Edge’s only current competitive pairs skater.

Since joining forces, Austin and Donaldson have performed in two competitions, including the Souvenir Georges-Ethier event in Trois Riviere, Quebec. At the competition, which is more a practice event and not used as a qualifier for larger meets, the new pair finished fifth.

The pair’s first competition was Augusts’ BC/YT Section Summerskate Competition in Burnaby, BC, a small competition where they finished second.

To qualify for the Challenge event, Austin and Donaldson performed an exhibition program at the Quebec Sectionals last month.

“I was a little nervous about it because one of the specific requirements is a throw jump and it’s not really my best one,” said Austin of the weekend’s short program. “I was a little nervous, but I didn’t fall.

“One of our lifts didn’t go so well as I had hoped, but sometimes you make mistakes and there’s not much you can do about that.

“It was an OK performance overall.”

An accomplished singles skater, Austin has won a gold and a bronze over three separate appearances at the Arctic Winter Games, and also competed at the Canada Winter Games in 2007, finishing 16th.

In her last season of singles, Austin made it on to the BC/YT Provincial Development Team for her seventh-place finish at the 2010 BMO Skate Canada Sectionals (BC/Yukon Section) in Richmond, BC. She also won gold at the Autumn Leaves event in Kamloops, BC, last October, placed sixth in the Wildrose Competition in Edmonton and second at the Vancouver Island Skate International Competition.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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