Athlete Mckenna Colthorp 13, dreams of standing on the podium at the 2015 Canada Winter Games (CWG). A dream that may soon become a reality as the national figure-skating sensation has already proven her talent winning gold at both the 2014 BC Winter Games and 2014 Arctic Winter Games. After recently being chosen to skate for Team BC, I just can’t stop thinking about a third gold medal, Mckenna said. “I don’t think anything is impossible. If you believe in yourself you can do whatever you want,” said Mckenna with a humbling enthusiasm. “Prince George is so close to Fort St. James it feels like I’m competing on home ice. It’s such an honour to be part of [this year’s] games.”
Mckenna competes as a novice figure skater – under 17- and will be one of the youngest competitors at the CWG. Known for her strength and poise, she is able to execute all jumps up to a triple loop including a triple salchow and triple toe. She trains 17 hours a day at the CNC Centre in Kelowna, BC in both on-ice and weight-room training. Her private ballet lessons help with posture and flexibility.
“I feel like I have a good work ethic and I’m not afraid of trying new things,” Mckenna said. “When I’m going through the air I’m calm because I trust my training.”
Mckenna was born in Fort St. James and at the age of five started traveling for summer skating school to Kelowna where she trains with coaches Karen and Jason Mongrain, a powerhouse training team who will be with Mckenna throughout her winter games experience. When it came time to advance her skating career it only made sense for her to move to Kelowna where she now lives.
“She definitely showed talent even at that young age which was just the start,” Mr. Mongrain said. “She is a phenomenal athlete, an explosive jumper and very coordinated which are traits that serve you well in competitive figure skating. She just has a grace about her that is great in combination with her sheer power.”
Mckenna started skating at the age of three with the Stuart Lake Skating Club in Fort St. James with coach Lisa Bystrom. When she was nine, the Colthorp family moved to Grand Prairie, Alberta where Mckenna skated with the Grand Prairie Skating Club with coach Ashley Spry for four years.
It was in Grand Prairie Mckenna won her first provincial title and became Alberta’s Pre-Juvenile Champion. At 11-years-old she represented Team Alberta North in Ladies 3 at the Arctic Winter Games in White Horse and won three gold medals. She has since competed in numerous competitions including sectionals in Prince George in November 2014 and become BC’s Novice Provincial Champion.
That event qualified her to skate in Montreal at the Skate Canada Challenge in December 2014 where she competed among the top skaters in Canada. The goal was to place in top 18 to move on to nationals in Kinston, Ontario. She finished 8th and recently skated on National Ice in Kingston where she had a strong free program skate finishing with the 2nd highest score. Her overall total put her 4th in the competition- less than half a point from a medal.
“It was an amazing experience,” Mckenna said. “To leave being ranked 4th in the entire country was unreal.”
Although costume has little to do with her athletic ability, Mckenna has two fully custom dresses. Her green short-program dress is made by Laura Carr of Kelowna and her fuchsia long-program dress is made by Annette Yanishewski of Grand Prairie. Her foot attire is also special being world-level Adidas skates shipped from Italy with special Matrix Elite blades – a much lighter skate.
But what makes Mckenna such a great figure skater is her artistry, Ms. Mongrain said, Mckenna’s coach and coach for Team BC.
“Mckenna is extremely co-ordinated and has a lot of good performing qualities. Some skaters are pigeon holed as being a good jumper or spinner but Mckenna is more well rounded, able to land even the toughest jumps.” Ms. Mongrain said.
Mckenna’s goal for next season is to compete internationally and land the triple flip and triple lutz, maybe even in time for the winter games.
“My goal at the games is to have a personal best skate and bring home a gold medal,” Mckenna said. “Any medal would be great but I’d really like the gold.”
CWG figure-skating events will showcase two levels with four disciplines. Mckenna will compete against 15 competitors in both short and long programs from Feb. 23-26. For more information on scheduling or events, visit www.canadagames2015.ca