Student skates to gold at Worlds
The championship took place at Zagreb, Croatia. The setting for NEXXICE, on the other hand, was at Graz, Austria. The team flew out to Graz, for four days, so their bodies and mind can adjust with the time discrepancies.
“[Graz] is a chance to get away from other distractions and to get into the bubble,” explained Taryn Milne, a key skater in NEXXICE's skating core and Fanshawe fashion merchandising student. “The bubble is where we can focus together and feed off one another, where no distractions exist and nothing can come between us when we are skating.”
Becoming a world championship team requires a stockpile of dedication. NEXXICE wasted little time after arriving at Graz. Once there, the team would practice five hours a day skating on the ice. Practicing on the ice is not enough to become a championship team, though.
Countless hours were spent office training. Office training is when the dancers take the choreography from the ice to the floor. During this process, the skaters will work on perfecting the synchronization and timing of the dance.
Mental preparation and teamwork is also essential. On top of the endless physical practice, the team heavily indulged in goal setting. Team members and coaches, together, form goals for the day. Goals could include from increasing accuracy during a specific portion of a dance to encouragement.
After the four days of tireless preparation, NEXXICE headed off to Zagreb to finally compete. To put into perspective how large this event is, 23 teams from 18 different countries were competing. This event brought the best in the world to challenge NEXXICE.
“The first day we would do official practice where judges and other teams would be around. We also had numerous visits from people, and the Canadian ambassador came to watch as well,” described Milne.
The final day was competition time. Each team was required to complete two programs: a short program and a free program. After NEXXICE's short program, they were in second place behind Finland.
“We were very happy with our skate and didn't want to lose our focus at this point,” deduced Milne. “All we wanted as a team was to excite the audience and have personal best skates.”
Sure enough, NEXXICE did. They came out in the free program and had outstanding scores. As a result, NEXXICE won gold. This championship is the first ever a Canadian team has won. Not only did NEXXICE win gold, but they made history.
“It was the first time a Canadian team had ever won this and we scored the highest points ever ranked in this event,” Milne said. “We were blown away!”
The astonishing feat also led to Olympic talk. During the 2010 Olympics, synchronized skating will be demoed - this is not final Milne explains - and will be considered to be an Olympic sport.
From finishing third place three years in a row to winning a world title, the NEXXICE team defied all odds. With a team compromised of physically and mentally tough skaters, NEXXICE has finally achieved their biggest goal: being the best in the world.