Dr. Charles Snelling
Six-time Canadian Men’s Champion, seven-time world team member and two-time Olympic competitor – these are just some of the highlights of Dr. Charles Snelling’s figure skating career.
After capturing the Canadian Junior Men’s Championships in 1952, Dr. Snelling, a native of Toronto, went on to win five consecutive Senior Men’s national titles from 1954-1958. He also competed in his first Winter Olympic Games in 1956 and won the bronze medal at the World Championships in 1957.
Following his victory at the Canadian Championships in 1958, Dr. Snelling decided to pursue a career in medicine and retired from competitive skating to attend the University of Toronto. Following his graduation from medical school in 1962, Dr. Snelling’s competitive fire was rekindled. He retuned to competitive skating and won his sixth national title in 1964.
Dr. Snelling’s victory at the 1964 Canadian Championships earned him a spot on the 1964 Olympic team, sending him to the second Olympic Games of his career.
Dr. Snelling enjoyed one of the longest skating careers in this country, spanning seventeen years from 1950 to 1967.
Dr. Snelling has gone on to a successful career as a surgeon. He is also a medical professor at the University of British Columbia.
Louis Stong’s passion for skating began as a competitor, continued through his coaching years and culminated in his time spent identifying and developing young skaters.
A former national bronze medallist, three-time junior silver medallist and an international competitor in men’s figure skating, Louis represented Canada at the 1960 World Figure Skating Championships in Vancouver, BC. Following his eleventh place finish there, he retired from competitive skating to pursue his passion through coaching.
At the young age of 19, he used the knowledge he had gained as a competitor, combined it with his natural coaching talent and embarked on a highly successful 30-year coaching career. Several Canadian and World Champions are among the skaters Louis coached, including Kay Thomson and the pair team of Candy Jones and Donald Fraser. Expanding beyond Canadian borders, the American pair team of Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard won the US National title under his guidance. His career highlight as a pair coach came in 1984, when he watched five-time Canadian Pair Champions Barb Underhill and Paul Martini win the World Championship title in front of an ecstatic Ottawa crowd.
During the late 1980s, Louis increased his volunteer involvement as an administrator within Canadian figure skating, serving as Chair of the Canadian Figure Skating Association’s Technical Committee, Chair of the Skate Canada – Central Ontario Coaching Committee and as a course coordinator for the National Coaching Certification Program.
Louis wasn’t finished with coaching quite yet. After agreeing to coach Karen Preston, a young man from Edmonton, named Kurt Browning, also asked Louis to be his coach. In addition, Louis also began to coach Josée Chouinard, adding to the impressive list of Canadian Champions who worked with him.
Under Louis’ tutelage, Kurt won his fourth Canadian title, as well as his fourth World Championship title in 1993. As a result of this outstanding year in 1993, Louis received the Coaching Association of Canada’s 1993 Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award and the 1994 Skate Canada Coach of the Year Award.
In the late 1990s Louis moved into the next phase of his skating career. In 1996 he became Skate Canada’s Director of Skating Development, a role that he still holds today. In this role, Louis coordinates the development, implementation and monitoring of athlete development across the country. He continues in this role with the same passion, joy and enthusiasm for the sport of figure skating as when he took his first steps on the ice.