For Jaimie MacDonald, it’s a dream come true.
The 20-year-old from Fort St. James is now a member of the National Canadian Speed Skating Team and will be competing in the next two World Cup Championships.
The ISU World Cup Short Track competition will be held in Montreal from Oct 30 – Nov. 1 and then in Toronto from Nov. 6 – 8.
MacDonald moved to Fort St. James from Stuart in 2000. She began skating in 2001. “My neighbours recommended it,” MacDonald says. “I fell in love with it. I love the speed. It’s so challenging and unpredictable. It’s not over until the finish, it’s a battle to the very end,” she said.
And a battle for a win is what MacDonald is determined to do in Montreal later this month and again in Toronto in November. “My last competition qualified me in the World Cup,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald competed in Canada’s World Cup team selection meet in Montreal last month. Canada’s top 16 female skaters were there including two Olympic medalists, Marianne St-Gelais and Valerie Maltais and seven others with international experience.
MacDonald got a 3rd and a 5th in the 500 metres races and two 4ths in the 1500 that places her 6th overall in the rankings.
At 16, MacDonald moved to Calgary to undergo intensive training with her coach Maggie Qimengyao. She trains twice a day.
MacDonald is also studying at the University of Calgary part time. “It’s difficult because of my training schedule,” she says. I’m still deciding what I want to major in. I think I would like to major in medical sciences and minor in anthropology,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald, who lives with her older sister, says she could not have done any of this without her family’s support. “My family has always been there for me. They know that this is my dream and if school gets put on hold for a while, then it can wait if it has to,” she said.
MacDonald is excited about the challenges that lie before her in the next few weeks. “Of course one day I want to compete in the Olympics. I want that international experience,” she said.
But for now she is focused on representing Team Canada at the World Cup events in the next couple of months. “This is one step closer, MacDonald said. “This is my dream.”
MacDonald skated in the Fort St. James home rink from 1999 until 2013 when she moved to the National Training Centre in Calgary. She remains a registered member of the local club.
For more information about the team and Speed Skating Canada visit: www.speedskating.ca