Terrace skater competing at nationals

Terrace’s Laura Dale will showcase her figure skating abilities with the best of Canada at Special Olympic Nationals March 1-6.

Dale performing at the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games.

Terrace’s Laura Dale will showcase her hard-earned figure skating abilities with the best of Canada at Special Olympic Nationals March 1-6.

Complete with a variety of graceful twists and jumps, Dale’s skating routine is set to an emotional keyboard masterpiece from Romeo and Juliet.

“I love it all,” she said when asked about her favourite part of the routine.

With a gold-winning performance at provincials last year, Dale spent the year perfecting her routine and strengthening her fitness.

“She actually improved in every area,” said skating coach Jennifer Kuehne of Dale’s fitness training, adding that she is grateful to the City of Terrace who donated her a free pass to the gym and pool during the off-season. Dale also worked hard on her back spin and can now hold it for five complete revolutions, Kuehne said.

“She is very musical… Laura would be one of our best skaters in Terrace at our creative event – where you turn on a piece of music and you just let them skate freely and move to the music. That’s definitely the thing she is the best at and the thing she enjoys,” Kuehne said of Dale.

“Even in her solo that is planned, there’s a couple of spots where she has her own creative moves… she gets lots of comments on it. When she goes to competitions, the judges are just in awe of how creatively she can move her body.”

Kuehne said not every provincial winner goes to nationals, but Dale was chosen with nine other B.C. skaters by a selection committee after provincials.

“Just winning provincials is a super big deal. Then a few months later we got information that she made it to nationals… we’re really excited for her,” Kuehne said. “It’s going to be a great experience for her no matter what. It’s a great opportunity.”

The top athletes at nationals will advance to represent Canada at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz, Austria in 2017.

Preparing for the national stage in a few weeks, Dale said she is nervous but she likes performing in front of a large crowd.

This year Dale said she will be “thinking about our people,” that is, skating in memory of two of her grandparents who passed away last December.

Dale will fly to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, for nationals with 126 athletes and nine figure skaters on Team B.C. and her mom, Jody Kelly, will also travel east to support her daughter in the competition.