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December 01, 2021
Hometown: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Spirit Animal: “Probably a puppy or a monkey - Just playful, goofy, and happy!”
Currently in her 11th season competing in senior women, Michelle represents Canada and trains in Richmond Hill, Ontario at the Richmond Training Centre.
“The first time I stepped on the ice was for public skating with my family, when I was 2 years old. I started taking lessons when I was about 5 years old.”
Even though she began skating at a young age, she did not enter the competitive stream until the age of 14.
“In my early skating days, I loved ice dance and artistic skating. I was not a very good jumper because I had a fear of falling! My goal as an 18-year-old, high school graduate, was to try and qualify for the Canadian National Championships. I left my home club, where I had been skating for 13 years, and I moved to a competitive training centre, where I still train to this day!”
After 4 years, and at the age of 22, Michelle qualified for the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, in Kingston, Ontario, where she placed 7th overall.
“From that point, I wanted to keep pushing myself and see if I could make it onto the National Team. The next year, at the 2016 Nationals in Halifax, I placed 5th and landed a spot on the National Team with some of Canada greatest skaters of all time! I would like to think that was the most memorable moment of my skating career, but really, that just opened a whole new world of opportunities.”
In the following seasons, Michelle was able to compete on the world stage, representing Canada at several international events, including the 2018 ISU Four Continents Championships, just weeks before the 2018 Winter Olympics; for which she was also named as an alternate for the Olympic team.
“I just remember that whole week, in Taipei, being in awe of the skaters, the crowds, the talent, and knowing I was a part of that. In this moment, I felt like I had won Olympic Gold.”
Describe yourself in one word.
“Determined. I don’t give up. Even when I should have stopped, many times, I fought through many adversities to accomplish my goals.”
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires or motivates you?
“I have a very supportive family. By knowing that they are always cheering for me, that helps to keep me motivated.”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“I had many role models growing up. I was such a fan of the sport and would attend as many events as possible. Even the skaters in the middle of the pack inspired me with their performances. A few of my favourites were Michelle Kwan, Carolina Kostner, and Joannie Rochette. I admired them for their outstanding performances!”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating? Least favourite?
“My favourite element in a skating program is the choreo sequence and step sequence! I love feeling free on the ice and moving in a creative and expressive way.”
“My favourite jump is the triple loop, and least favourite is the Lutz. My technique on the Lutz was never great, and as a Senior lady, I never had to have it in my programs. One day, I just decided, at a very late age... 25, to try and master this jump!”
“Knowing it was the one element separating my competitors from me gives me the motivation to work on it!”
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
“I love all types of off-ice training! Currently, in my own training, I do a lot of strength, agility, plyometrics and conditioning. I also enjoy other forms of movement, such as dance, Pilates, and yoga.”
“I actually got my personal training certification this year because I love it so much!”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“This is going to sound cheesy, but my favourite part of skating is listening to the edges carve into the ice. There is something so magical about that sound!”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
“I don’t think I do! I always tie my left skate before my right, but that’s just a daily habit. “
Q: What is your go to music to get you in the zone?
Q: How do you remain composed when competing in high pressure situations?
“One saying that I’ve been using for years is, “let the butterflies fly in formation”. I don’t always get nervous to perform, but there are definitely butterflies, because of excitement and adrenaline. Remembering to acknowledge the butterflies and have them work in in my favour, helps me calm down and stay focused.”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization or meditation?
“I started using visualization and meditation back in 2017. I worked with a mental performance consultant and using those techniques really help me to stay calm and focused in the moment. If I am feeling distracted by emotions, I take three deep breaths, with my hand on my belly, before stepping onto the ice to perform.”
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career?
“I have faced many obstacles in my competitive career. I have had injuries and concussions, I struggled with balancing school and training, I have had to work multiple jobs to pay for my skating expenses, I have experienced disappointment from not achieving my goals – you name it, I have had to face it. To overcome these obstacles, you have to love the sport. Remembering your goals and why you are doing it is what keeps me going every single time. I truly love figure skating!”
“Another major influence in my skating career was Leslie Hawker, a Canadian bronze medalist, who competed later into her twenties and worked as a waitress to pay for her skating. 10 years later, I found myself in her shoes!”
Q: What was/is your ultimate goal with skating?
“Every year I continued in the sport, my goals changed. At first, my goal was to just qualify for Challenge, then it became Nationals, then internationals. Without this constant pursuit of my mini goals, I don’t think I would have stayed as motivated in the sport. I still have a few goals I want to accomplish and that is why I am still competing at an older age.”
Q: On days that you don’t feel like training, what keeps you motivated?
“I think that understanding your limitations as an athlete is so important, for both physical and mental health.”
Q: How has skating prepared you for life?
“Skating has taught me many life lessons and transferable skills to the real world when I decide to retire from competition.”
Q: Do you have any advice for young and aspiring skaters?
“Never give up! It sounds simple, but if you are passionate about what you are doing, keep doing it and you will find happiness and success.”
“Dream, believe, shine!”
Q: If skating didn’t exist and you could be anything else in the world, what would it be?
“I would have probably been a dancer. I started competing in dance before skating but chose to continue my passion for skating at the age of 12.”
Q: What is something funny or unique that most people don’t know about you?
“One thing that is unique about my skating journey, is that I didn’t start my competitive career much later in life. I try to set a good example, that you don’t have to be super talented at a young age to make it in this sport.”
“Something funny about me is that I love bad jokes! I am not a very funny person myself, but I love a good laugh, or dad joke.”
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of skating?
“I have so many hobbies outside of skating: dance, fitness, listening to audiobooks, woodworking - building furniture, boating and water sports.”
Q: What are your career goals post competitive career?
Michelle is currently in her final year at York University, pursuing a BA in Psychology.
“…I am planning to take a master's degree in Sports Psychology. I want to help young athletes with their mental performance.”
Q: Where is one place you’ve never been but hope to visit?
“Japan! The fans love skating there so I would love to be able to perform for them.”
Q: What is your favourite memory from skating?
“As a teenager, about 14 years old, I was asked to be a local guest skater in a Holiday Show – starring Kurt Browning, Brian Orser, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Jeffery Buttle and many other skating legends! I was able to be super close to my idols and be in a show alongside them, which was SUPER cool to me!”
Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
“To me, having a #ChampionshipMindset is having a goal, a clear vision of how you will achieve that goal and being in the zone while executing the plan. This means being focused, driven, motivated, flexible, adaptive, committed, consistent and passionate.”