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September 20, 2021
Hometown: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Fun Fact: “I had 13 gerbils when I was growing up.”
Spirit Animal: Duck – “On the surface it looks like there’s not much going on but beneath it there’s so much work needed to just stay afloat. Also, ducks are my favourite animal so I may be a bit biased.”
Emily Bausback, the 2020 Canadian Champion, began skating at the age of three and competing at the age of eight.
“My grandma was a speed skater and my dad was a hockey player. Naturally, he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a skater myself. At such a young age, parents typically put their children in multiple sports until they pick a sport that “sticks”. Around age 6 or 7, I was quite invested in playing golf in addition to my learn-to-skate lessons. When pressured to choose only one sport, sparkly figure skating dresses definitely had the upper hand over swinging golf clubs in the mud.”
“I had my first lesson with my current coach, Joanne McLeod, when I was eleven and she saw something special in me. Her intuition proved her right as we have been working together ever since and are inseparable!”
Today, Emily is training at Champs International Skating Centre of BC in Burnaby, BC and preparing for the Olympic season.
Q: How did it feel to win your national title?
“Even to this day I have moments where I can’t believe it happened, since it was such an incredible and surreal experience. That was the moment I realized my skating took me in a different direction and put my name on the map. Before then, I had small wins and successes but nothing even close to as monumental as that. I felt a great bit of relief knowing that all the years of hard work and the journey I’ve been on with skating had led to something so remarkable. Being able to deliver at the right time despite having near-perfect practices every day is something I’ve struggled with in my career. Nothing felt better than to finally deliver in competition, the same programs I train in my practices.”
Q: What is your ultimate goal with skating?
“Like many athletes, my ultimate goal for skating is making the Olympic and World team. I was so honoured to make the Canadian World team in both 2020 and 2021, which is such a dream for me because I remember looking up to Kevin Reynolds and Jeremy Ten, both of whom trained at my training center, and seeing them make the world team was an inspiration and gave me a drive to one day hopefully make it myself. With the Olympic season [set for this year], the sky’s the limit!”
Describe yourself in one word.
“Firecracker. I’ve got a lot of energy and once I get started, like a firecracker, I’m always on ‘go’ mode.
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires or motivates you?
“My coach, Joanne McLeod, inspires me because she is so passionate about this sport and dedicates her life to creating champions. She has this drive for perfection and a narrow focus that motivates me in training.”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“My skating role-model has been Joannie Rochette ever since I saw her skate live at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I was absolutely blown away at 7 years old and I would talk about her nonstop to all my classmates for the rest of the year. She is so delicate and graceful, yet is a strong and powerful woman, and that combination was (and still is!) so admirable and inspirational to me.”
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
“In the summer, I do hip-hop off ice as a part of my training and I look forward to it every year. I’m able to look dumb and have fun moving my body in ways one wouldn’t be able to, in for example, ballet or contemporary. Plus, I’m allowed to dance to some of my favourite rap songs!”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
“…triple lutz, because it’s the triple that feels most natural to me.”
“…probably the triple salchow. Sometimes, we’re on good terms and other times it’s my arch nemesis. I’m stubborn in a way that I won’t move on to another jump in training unless the last element I did was perfect. I keep trying until I’m absolutely satisfied with the attempt!”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization or meditation?
“The only visualization I do is right before a jump. I like to imagine myself taking the jump and mentally going through my corrections. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and I kind of subconsciously do it all of the time. It helps me apply corrections to my jumps; connecting words to movements.”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or routines?
“The morning of the competition I like to have yogurt and blueberries for breakfast. I have two pre-competition rituals which happen between my practice and my event. I’ll either do some pre-competition shopping or I’ll do a bit of sightseeing if I’m in a foreign city.”
Q: It’s time for your long program, you’re on the ice in your starting position, waiting for your music to start… what are you thinking?
“Honestly, at this moment, I’d probably be thinking of my cheat meal that I would eat after I finish. At this point, everything has been done already; the training, run-throughs, etc. I do my best when I turn my brain off at competitions and allow my training to carry me through the program. My coach would tell me to “trust my training” and that I do this program every day in practice.”
Q: Have you ever endured some type of adversity during your skating career?
“Over the past year I’ve experienced numerous injuries, performance anxiety, as well as mental health struggles that were due to the COVID pandemic. I had a serious injury last summer and was followed up by a more-mild injury later in the season. Because of this, my training was interrupted and it was hard to work through an injury while trying to recover elements that weren’t in shape due to quarantine and isolation.”
“I struggled with a lot of anxiety and a feeling of loss throughout the unpredictable pandemic and lost a bit of motivation in my skating. There were moments last year where I felt I was at my absolute lowest and that I thought the universe was against me. I rely on my friendships and social interactions to make me happy and to raise my spirits but with self-isolation, COVID made that impossible.”
“Similar to many people, I felt alone and it was difficult for me to get out of bed. At times like that I tried my best to stay positive by reminding myself that ‘well if you hit rock bottom, you can’t possibly go any lower and the only option is to go up’. By convincing myself that this situation is temporary and that things were going to get better, I was able to motivate myself in training as well as in life. My advice to anyone struggling with a lack of motivation is to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and confide in someone who you trust and makes you feel comfortable opening up to.”
Q: How has skating prepared you for life?
“If skating has taught me one thing in life, it’s discipline. I’ve learned to always attend practices and training even when I don't feel like going. Skating has taught me to be strict on myself and to never fall below the bar. I’ve made a commitment to this sport and discipline keeps me in check. By Using the same principles, I value in skating, I’ve been able to excel in school as well. Discipline is such a major life skill and I’m glad that I’ve experienced it from such a young age.”
Q: On days that you don’t feel like training, what keeps you motivated?
“Acknowledging that I’ve made a commitment to figure skating. It’s like a marriage. Once the honeymoon phase ends, you’re stuck with raw feelings and commitment. It’s a real test on mental strength when you inevitably get to this stage in skating where you have to figure out if your commitment to training outweighs the less glamorous side of figure skating.”
Q: Any advice for young and aspiring skaters?
“Worry about what you can control. Don’t stress over other people’s opinions and only focus on outcomes that are a direct result of your actions.”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“My favourite thing about skating is jumping. I’ve always been a fan of jumping. Even as a toddler I was put in a Jolly Jumper and apparently I loved being in there! From a non-skating perspective, jumping and spinning in the air is quite a feat. It’s honestly one of the best feelings when you land a jump you’ve been working so hard on. It feels supernatural!”
Q: Do you have any stand-out memories from skating?
“One of my favourite skating memories was when I was in Poland for my first senior international [event] and after my teammates and I finished competing, we rented some scooters on the street and had a blast riding around the city. I’ll never forget the feeling of all of us laughing as the wind blew past us into the night. It’s one of my favourite memories of all time.”
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of skating?
“I love biking and listening to music!”
Q: What’s your current favourite ‘get in the zone’ or ‘hype up’ song?
“Venetia and Sanguine Paradise by Lil Uzi Vert.”
Q: If skating didn’t exist and you could be anything else in the world what would it be?
“If I could do any other sport I would be in gymnastics, specifically in trampoline… because, you know, jumping. I wouldn’t have to worry about unpleasant weather conditions and I would practically be flying for a living!”
Q: Where is one place you’ve never been but hope to visit?
“Brazil, because I’ve never been in the southern hemisphere and I really want to experience the culture and try some traditional Brazilian cuisines. My family used to host homestay students from Brazil and they were some of the friendliest people I’ve [ever] met.”
Q: What are you up to now?
“Besides training, I’m currently practicing for my upcoming drivers’ test. I’ve been practicing a lot during COVID. I am pretty nervous for the test but I also feel confident in my driving abilities. Fingers crossed I pass this test so I can ditch the bus!”
Currently attending Simon Fraser University, Emily is focusing on the biomedical physiology field for her undergraduate degree.
“I want to become an optometrist when I finish my skating career. It’s going to take many years in university and grad school to achieve, but I know it’s possible.”
Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
“Having a #ChampionshipMindset means trying your absolute best in all aspects of skating as well as in life. For me, it’s about committing to a goal and using different strategies to achieve it. A #ChampionshipMindset requires determination, concentration, and courage. Dealing with loss and having the strength to try again is also a huge part. Most importantly, a #ChampionshipMindset is about inner strength and positivity. It’s about believing in yourself even when all the odds are stacked against you.”