For the first time in its 59-year history, the Scarboro Figure Skating Club is sending athletes to the Olympic Games.
Going to Vancouver this year is ice-dancing pair Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier, along with their long-time coach Carol Lane.
The pair was named to the 12-person Canadian Olympic figure skating team after their silver medal performance at the 2010 BMO Skate Canada Championships in London. Crone, 19, and Poirier, 18, have been skating with the Scarboro Club and competing together since they were 10 and nine years old.
Lane said it is uncommon for figure skaters to have the same coach for their entire careers, but called it a key to their success.
The pair have participated in competitions all over the world, from Zagreb to Taipei, and are well prepared for the Olympic stage.
“A lot of people assume that just because it’s a more important competition, you train more for it,” said Poirier. “We’re just sticking to our routine. We’re not changing anything.”
“I think obviously there will be a little more pressure,” added Crone. “But it’s something we’ve been looking forward to our whole careers.”
Lane believes the opportunity to represent Canada in Vancouver is important exposure for the Scarboro Club.
“We’re the little engine that could,” she said. “There’s a feeling that in order to do anything you have to leave your little club and go somewhere very high profile, and often leave the country and train with name coaches and so forth. We’ve always believed that location doesn’t make a champion. Attitude makes a champion.”
Lane says that coaching is what draws skaters to specific clubs, and that by developing high-profile figure skaters, the Scarboro Club will continue to draw interest in the area.
“Every time we’re on television we all say ‘Hi Scarborough!’ very loudly to make sure we get that point across.”
Although they are representing Canada, the skaters believe that on a more local level, they are also representing the Scarborough area.
“I think what is important is that that other people can see that we’re just normal people,” Poirier said. “You can come from anywhere and still make it to the top. It comes down to how much you want it and how hard you work at it.”
Lane has modest expectations for her skaters, who will be two of the youngest members of Team Canada.
“For us, what we would like to do is break into the top 10. That’s our personal goal. If we do any better than that, then we’d all die of shock.”
Lane says fame and medals are only symptoms of her main goal: crafting a performance that the audience will appreciate.
“I want you to enjoy the work the kids put out,” she said. “I want them to entertain you.”