Karen Smith hears the sound of sharp blades scraping along ice five days a week.
The Lake Country resident is training to compete in the International Adult Figure Skating Competition, May 7, in Oberstdorf, Germany.
The 46-year-old, along with the other women of the Team Okanagan skating club, will be part of the competition and also a CBC documentary, called To The Worlds, which will showcase their journey.
The competition in Germany will have more than 500 competitors from 30 countries, all competing for a podium spot in their respective age categories.
“It’s the largest competition for adult figure skaters during the year,” said Smith, who has been skating for more than 40 years. “It’s very exciting, it’s something I never expected to have the opportunity to do so it’s really quite amazing.”
The team consists of members from West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country who range from 46 to 76. They practice at The Nexus in Lake Country, which Smith said offers an encouraging environment.
Her aim is to have a 100 per cent clean skate in the competition, which she said is very hard to do, but by training together with Team Okanagan, she finds encouragement and support.
“That’s the goal, is to do every part of the program the best that you can possibly do.”
The team started with three members six years ago, which gradually grew to include 13 core members with about five non-regulars.
“We had no idea that it was going to take off like this, and so many people are so interested in this,” said Smith. “It’s a neat way to challenge yourself, to have courage and try something you haven’t tried before.”
In a noisy dressing room, pulling on skates after decades off the ice, Henrietta Penney, 75, said via the group’s news release, “if we skate as well as we chat, we’ll all win gold medals in Germany.”
Wendy Ord, 59, of Lake Country, is skating to make her dad, 86, proud. “Dad skated in the Ice Capades back in the 1940s. All his life he wanted one of his four daughters to lace up skates. Now, I’m finally doing it.” Ord and her fellow teammates all have deeply personal reasons for lacing up late in life, which they will share in To The Worlds, according to the news release.
The group’s dress rehearsal will be held May 1 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Winfield Arena. The documentary airs on CBC in January 2019.
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