Caylie Blake celebrated her 15th birthday with all the bells and whistles that come with a young woman’s big day.
That celebration turned to sadness the following day when her grandfather Neil Tourout died.
Mr. Tourout had been a source of inspiration and motivation for the talented skater with the Corner Brook Silver Blades Skating Club.
It was a tough time for her, but she remained strong and continued to train because she had her sights set on winning a gold medal at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sectionals in Mount Pearl to earn a trip to the 2018 Skate Canada Challenge later this month.
Blake delivered an impressive performance at sectionals, posting a personal best time in winning gold in the pre-novice women’s division in a field of 12 skaters from across the province.
“It was hard, but I knew that he would want me to go train and I know he’d want me to do good,” she said. “I always have him in the back of my mind when I’m skating because he always used to motivate me to do better.”
Blake changed coaches this past summer and she believes that move proved to be a positive one. She spent a few weeks working with a new coach in Montreal over the summer and she saw a big difference in her skating.
She also decided to go to Montreal for a couple of weeks after her grandfather died to get in some more training before she would go for gold in Mount Pearl.
“When I go up there I want to be in a good environment and I feel like this coach gives me exactly what I need for that,” Blake said.
She will see how far she’s come in her training when she competes at Challenge where she plans on getting the most out of the experience and seeing how she stacks up.
“There’s a lot more tension because there’s so many competitors ad they’re all so good,” she said.