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July 26, 2021
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Spirit Animal: Butterfly – “An online quiz said that my spirit animal is a butterfly! Butterflies symbolize transitioning from one stage of life to another, and that I guess that is accurate for me as I recently transitioned from being a competitive athlete to a university student.”
Olivia first stepped onto the ice just before the age of two. She grew up skating in Burlington, Ontario, trained at Mariposa in Barrie, Ontario for one season, and then spent her last two competitive seasons training at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club.
“My Mom actually skated for Canada in the ladies’ discipline and is now a coach at the Burlington Skating Centre. She taught me to skate and was my coach until I was 15, [which was when] I quit freeskate and moved away from home to pursue ice dance more seriously.”
Olivia competed in freeskate until 2017 and ice dance from 2015-2020. She also spent 3 seasons representing Canada on the junior national team in ice dance (2017-2020) and had the opportunity to compete in Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, and Italy!
After a 2nd place finish at the 2018 Canadian National Championships in Vancouver, her and her partner were chosen to represent Canada at the 2018 Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“Junior Worlds was the highest level competition I ever competed in.”
She retired from competitive skating after Nationals in January of 2020, where her and her partner Corey Circelli won the junior bronze medal, and is now skating on the varsity team at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires or motivates you?
“When I think of the inspiring people in my life, one of the first names that comes to mind is my friend Matt Markell! Matt competes in senior men and is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He is unapologetically himself and is so passionate about everything he does, both in and outside of skating. I believe that people like Matt are often successful because they are driven to work hard by their love for what they do. Matt’s attitude is very admirable to me and I always feel motivated to strive for the best when I’m around him!”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“My Mom was always a skating role model to me - like many kids who look up to their parents, I wanted to be just like her. Though having your parent as a coach is no easy feat, my Mom and I’s arguments on the ice usually stemmed from me wanting to impress her!”
Q: Do you have any favourite quotes?
“I’m sure so many would say that this is their favourite quote, but the saying “everything happens for a reason” got me through some of the most difficult times I experienced throughout my athletic career. I also love the quotes “your feet can do the steps but only your heart can skate them” and “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”.”
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
“Dance! I love to move to music both on and off the ice and dance classes never felt like training to me. I really enjoyed the ballet and ballroom dance classes I took.”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
“My favourite element in ice dance is definitely the choreo step sequence. I love that it is more creative than technical and allows skaters to really get into character and perform.”
Q: Least favourite?
“Twizzles, not because I disliked doing them, but because it was the element that I was always the most nervous for. Though [they] were my least favourite, I never lacked motivation to practice them - I knew that repetition was the only way I would improve!”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization or meditation?
“I remember learning how to visualize in my early years of competing. It was never something that was easy for me but it’s a very beneficial technique that many athletes use, so I worked to improve it.”
“I liked to visualize before I went to bed at night or before competing. Visualizing almost helped to reassure me that I was prepared to compete - if I could visualize myself skating a perfect program then there was no reason I couldn’t actually do it!”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
“From my very early years of competing I have always done a back walkover during my off-ice warm up before competing. It is a major superstition for me, I absolutely have to do it before competing.”
Q: You’re at an event, on the ice, in your starting position, waiting for your music to start... What are you thinking?
“Make eye contact with the judges! My favourite part of skating has always been performing and there’s no greater time to do that than when you’re standing and staring at the judges.”
“Other than that I try not to think too much. If I’m competing, I know I’m prepared and that muscle memory will kick in and my body knows what to do!”
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career?
“Like most athletes I struggled with many injuries throughout my career. My first season competing in Junior Ice Dance I had a serious lower back injury from overuse. I trained in pain almost every day that season and was receiving treatment up to 4 times a week. This was very frustrating for both my partner and I, as it limited my ability to perform certain elements.”
“Then, in my second year of Junior dance my partner experienced a serious injury. Having gone through an injury myself the previous season, I was able to support him in a way that allowed him to heal and allowed us to overcome a loss of training time as a team.”
“[From these experiences I learned that] overcoming any hardship is possible if you are patient and trust the process, trying to take shortcuts or rushing back into things is not effective.”
Q: What was your ultimate goal with skating?
“For the majority of my skating career [it was] to represent Canada at the Olympic games, though this goal shifted overtime. Towards the end of my career my goal became to take the important life lessons I’d learned from skating and apply them to other aspects of my life. Many of the things I took away from skating are now some of my greatest assets as a university student!”
Q: What are some of the life lessons you learned from skating?
“I learned so many major life lessons throughout my skating career, it's hard to pick just one! One of the most major lessons I learned is the importance of embracing the journey. Yes, competing well and winning a medal feels nice, but the lessons you learn through overcoming obstacles and enduring challenges along the way are much more valuable.”
“Strive for success, but at the end of the day, win or lose, you still take away the growth you experienced along the way, and that in itself is a win.”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“Performing is my number one favourite thing about skating. I love to entertain and draw in the attention of an audience. There’s no better feeling performing and seeing the reactions and emotions of those watching you skate!”
“[If skating didn’t exist] and I could be anything else in the world, I would be an actress. On the ice I love playing different characters and I think it would be so cool to play a character on screen!”
Q: Favourite skating memory?
“I have so many amazing skating memories but my absolute favourite would have to be 2018 Nationals in Vancouver. I had two amazing skates, earned my first national medal, and stayed in Vancouver for the rest of the week to watch the senior events. It was an Olympic year which was very exciting, and I met some of my closest friends at that competition!”
Q: What is one piece of advice that you have for young skaters?
“Never forget why you started and why you love what you do. All of your successes, challenges, highs and lows will allow you to grow as both an athlete and person, as well as provide you with the skills you need to succeed in whatever you choose to pursue after sport.”
Outside of skating, Olivia enjoys golfing and snowboarding.
“I’m definitely not a pro at either but I really enjoy them both!”
“The #1 thing on my bucket list is to snowboard in the Swiss Alps. I have never been to Switzerland and hope to visit one day!”
She also loves watching documentaries.
“I don’t really like a lot of the classic TV shows that everyone loves, like Friends, but I have probably watched just about every space documentary on Netflix.”
Currently a student at Queen’s University, she is studying PPE - a triple specialization in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
“Right now I am very focused on school and succeeding academically. My goal is to complete my undergraduate degree by 2024 and to either go on to do a Master of Business Administration or attend law school.”
Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
“To have a #ChampionshipMindset means to do whatever it takes to pursue what you’re passionate about! No matter the circumstances, champions don’t give up and maintain a positive mindset because they love what they do. [It] is to embrace the lessons you learn on the road to success, because the journey is what makes the success so sweet!”