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Blaketown figure skater gets her senior skate despite virus shutdown

Blaketown figure skater Kyla Russell received roses from her skating club after completing her farewell skate on March 17. Contributed photo
Blaketown figure skater Kyla Russell received roses from her skating club after completing her farewell skate on March 17. Contributed photo - Contributed

The routine for her final performance didn’t exist before Trinity Placentia Figure Skating Club senior skater Kyla Russel hit the ice in Whitbourne.

In any other situation, she would be in the midst of piecing together the routine in the weeks leading up to the scheduled date for the ice show on April 5.

In a testament to the skills the 18-year-old from Blaketown had acquired leading to this point, Russell pieced together what would be her senior farewell skate on March 17 as the opening notes of Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’ rippled through the speakers and filled the stadium.

Feeling her way through the performance, she made the Whitbourne ice her own. For what must’ve felt like forever, Russell jumped, spun and glided across the ice as her fellow skaters, friends and family looked on.

Every movement elicited applause and shots of approval from those who watched.

Coming through the Trinity Placentia system, Russell always looked forward to the farewell skates during the annual ice show.

As a young skater, she always made sure to watch those performances. She would be amazed by their big jumps and she would think about when it would be her time.

That time almost didn’t happen.

In an effort to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Skate NL suspended all gatherings of 250 or more for the remainder of the skating season. That suspension included all ice shows.

“I was really disappointed,” said Russell. “You’re looking forward to doing your farewell skate. It was a sad time.”

It was with that sense of regret that she showed up to the stadium in a skating dress — she was told it was for a group photo — a prom queen without a prom, on St. Patrick’s Day.

She didn't know there were something else in the works for her.

The club had arraned for her family and friends to be there, and bring her synchro outfit as the senior skaters had choreographed their synchoinzed routine and were going to perform it.

They bought flowers for her and planned to send her off in the best way they could.

"We dedicated the whole session to Kyla. I think in a way, it was more special than her few moments at the ice show. We are so incredibly fortunate to be able to do this for her, on the last session of the 2019-2020 skating season," said coach Dana Smith. "Kyla has been a valuable, dedicated member of our skating family and we wish her all the best in the future."

That is when she was given the farewell skate she so badly wanted and deserved. When she had finished, Russell was given a bouquet of flowers and was swarmed by others in the club.

She had gotten her final skate.

“It was amazing,” said Russell.

nicholas.mercer@thecentralvoice.ca

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