Madeline Edwards - Rossland Skater Wins Big

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
February 19th, 2009

Rossland, as we all know, has a long and storied history of raising and producing top level athletes over the years from Nancy Greene, Kerrin Lee-Gartner, Dallas Drake and many others through to today’s current stars like George Grey. Following in that tradition, the next generation of Rossland athletes are starting to make their own mark on the sports world.

This past week Rossland native Madeline Edwards along with her partner Zhaokai Pang struck gold at the 2009 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals in Calgary. The 12 year old figure skaters competing in the dance division mamboed their way to being crowned the Canadian Juvenile Champions.

Having moved to Port Moody 18 months ago following a job transfer for her Dad, and having gotten her start at age five in the Rossland Figure Skating Club Edwards quickly got paired up with new coaches and a new dance partner.

“She’d always skated in Rossland until my husband was transferred about 18 months ago and we moved out here to Port Moody,” explained Edwards’ mother Katarina. “We had met with Aaron Lowe who was monitoring for the regional select team at the time, but we didn’t think anything of it because we were living in Rossland and there were no boy skaters to partner up with. When we moved Cindy Reich had communicated with Aaron and sort of hooked us up because we didn’t have any coach to go to when we moved out to the GVA. They were quite happy to take her on and found her a dance partner.”

Skating solo with her new coaches from July 2007 to January 2008, Edwards’ coaches then found a dance partner for her and she was paired up with Zhaokai Pang. Zhaokai also twelve years old had been doing well competing as an individual free skater but was brand new to the world of ice dancing.

“He was an accomplished free skater but he had never done dance before so this is quite something. She had been doing her dance tests since she was six or seven. It was quite exciting that after a year the two of them have reached the heights that they have,” said Madeline’s mom.

With their family based in Calgary, and having grown up in Rossland, most of Madeline’s family had never seen her skate or compete before. This year’s Junior Nationals hosted in Calgary provided a great opportunity to show her family what she could do on the ice and the pair put on quite a show indeed

Speaking to Madeline from her home in Port Moody this week her enthusiasm bubbled over across the line and her love and passion for the sport shone through.

How long have you been skating for?

Since I was five. So about seven years. I’m having lots of fun. I just love it.

Tell me a little about skating in the junior nationals last week?

It was really good. We were really happy with how we skated. It was what we prepared for. When we got off the ice we knew that we had done what we were supposed to do. We had a lot of fun while we were there.

There are two segments and then they add up the scores. The first one is compulsory and the second is free dance. In the free dance everybody makes up something different and the coach makes it up for them. It’s usually the more exciting event to watch because everybody’s is unique.

What was your routine in the competition?

This year we had a mambo, so it was a lot of fun to skate to and work with.

We’re you nervous at all skating in such a big event?

We were a little bit nervous but I think our coaches had prepared us really well because they brought in judges for us to practice with and the weekend before we were invited to be the guest skaters at a gala for another competition so we felt really prepared with that too.

Now that you and Zhaokai are the Canadian Juvenile Champions, what are your next goals?

We want to compete internationally and maybe go to the Worlds. What we’re working toward right now is moving up a level to Pre-Novice and we’re taking that test this Friday.

It must be fun having a partner to skate with out on the ice, tell me a little about Zhaokai.

We have lots of fun together on the ice. He’s really funny and we work really well together on the ice. Meaghan and Aaron, our coaches, made a good partnership.

What is the best part of competing in a big national event?

I think just that we had a lot of fun and that it was a really good experience

With a great attitude, love for the sport and a partnership with Zhaokai that is working out for them both in having fun on the ice and achieving some great results this pair is one to keep an eye on as they make their way up the competition ladder.

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