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More to skating than medals for Corner Brook figure skater Hayden Oates

Corner Brook's Hayden Oates of the Silver Blades Skating Club picked up a bronze medal at the 2018 Atlantic Skating Championships held recently in Halifax.
Corner Brook's Hayden Oates of the Silver Blades Skating Club picked up a bronze medal at the 2018 Atlantic Skating Championships held recently in Halifax. - Dave Kearsey

Melissa Oates’ face flushes as she talks about the positive impact figure skating has had on her 10-year-old daughter, Hayden.

She was emotional talking about the joy of seeing Hayden win a bronze medal at the 2018 Atlantic Skating Championships in a field of 13 elite athletes in her age bracket.

The proud mom said medals are nice to win, a sign of hard work being recognized for sure, but the sport has given her child much more than a moment in the spotlight.

The skating community is close group where athletes spend a lot of time together, both on and off the ice, and Hayden is very happy being part of the group so that’s enough reason to keep sending her child to the rink.

But, it’s her growth as a person that has caught the attention of mom. She didn’t see her child as a reserved, standoffish girl, but she has no doubt her daughter is a more outgoing and confident person because of her involvement in skating.

“To be able to go out on the ice by yourself and compete and know you’ve got nobody to turn to, you’re on your own and have to skate to the best of your ability has helped her confidence wildly,” she said.

Sports is something this mom sees as a great avenue to keep her child not only active but will help her make good choices later in life.

“Keep her away from the things we don’t want her into,” she said.

Hayden earned the right to represent her province in Halifax by placing third at provincials. She went to Halifax hoping she could come up a performance that would place her in the top-six, a reasonable goal she figured since it was her first time skating outside of the province.

Marks for each age are posted on a bulletin board for skaters to check out their marks and placings after everybody in the group has skated.

Hayden said her walk to the bulletin board had her in a twist of nervousness and excitement, hoping she had some decent marks for her efforts.

“When I saw my name I was really excited and ran back to my mom to tell her,” Hayden said earlier this week as she prepared for the Silver Blades year-end ice show scheduled for the Corner Brook Civic Centre tonight.

Hayden doesn’t mind the early morning training sessions or rushing the rink when she gets out of school for the day because it’s a lot of fun and she found some awesome girls to hang out with away from competition and training time.

She loves learning new skills and feels a sense of satisfaction when she nails a particular skillset that she has tried dozens of times before she nailed it.

Perhaps, another life lesson learned that could help shape the next leg of her skating life.

“Practice makes perfect,” a smiling Hayden said.

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