Yukon skaters off to great start at Canada Winter Games

Rachel Pettitt, Michael Sumner and Mikayla Kramer. If you don’t know those names, learn them. You’ll be hearing more about them later this week from the Canada Winter Games, if their opening performances are any indication.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.

Rachel Pettitt, Michael Sumner and Mikayla Kramer. If you don’t know those names, learn them.

You’ll be hearing more about them later this week from the Canada Winter Games, if their opening performances are any indication.

All three Yukon figure skaters gave excellent performances to start the competition in Prince George.

“I’m feeling on top of the world right now,” said Sumner. “It went great. I skated a clean elements program. Hopefully I’m number one, number two or number three.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m here to have fun, meet new people. It has been amazing. I’ve met lots of different people from all around Canada.”

Sumner took second in the Special Olympics Level 2 male solo division in elements program on Monday. He will next compete in the free portion of the competition on Wednesday.

“I’m feeling very confident in myself, like I usually am, but a little nervous,” said Sumner. “I’ll manage it no matter what happens.”

Silver medals have been par for the course for Sumner. The 18-year-old won silver at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Much more recently, he skated to silver at the Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops last week, in what was his first time competing at Level 2. “Mike skated great tonight. He skated, in my opinion, better than he did last week at provincials,” said Yukon coach Michelle Semaschuk. “It was wonderful to see and a great atmosphere for all of them. It was nice to hear the loud cheers.”

Pettitt has been one of Yukon’s top medal hopefuls long before the opening ceremony, and it doesn’t look like the hope has been misplaced.

The 15-year-old placed second out of 18 skaters in her short program in novice ladies on Tuesday.

Pettitt, who will perform her long program on Thursday, won Yukon’s first-ever gold at the 2015 National Skating Championships last month. She is skating at her second Canada Winter Games this week, having competed at the 2011 Games in Halifax at just 11 years old.

Kramer now also knows a thing or two about competing at the Games at a young age.

The 12-year-old, who is up against some skaters three years older, placed 10th out of 19 skaters in her short program in pre-novice ladies on Monday.

She gave a clean routine and scored a personal best of 24.21.

“I really liked my performance. I skated my personal best … I need some work, but it’s coming along pretty well,” said Kramer. “(A personal best) is what I was going for – to skate like I did and have a new personal record.

“I beat it by about a point and a half, which is a fair amount in skating.”

Kramer had the whole stadium clapping along to her music, Zorba’s Dance, from the film Zorba the Greek.

She admits to having a couple shaky moments, but she completed her double loop, her spin combination and her double lutz-double toe. “It was the hardest one in my program and probably the best one I performed,” said Kramer.

The member of Whitehorse’s Arctic Edge Skating Club will complete her Games competition with her free program a few hours after Sumner on Wednesday.

“It has been a phenomenal trip so far and I know over the next couple of days we’re going to have way more fun,” said Sumner. “I’d like to thank the whole Special Olympics Yukon for letting me have this opportunity to compete and be here. And same with the whole Sport Yukon program.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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