(June 14, 2006)
It was a trip that will never be forgotten by the members of the Mississauga Ice Precise masters synchronized skating team.
This month, the team, whose members range in age from early-thirties to mid-sixties, travelled to Bordeaux, France to compete in the masters category of the Aquitane Cup, an international synchronized skating event.
The Mississauga Ice Precise were impressive at the event and came home as the gold medallists.
Here is an account of the team’s experience at the event from Dorothy Byers, a member of the Mississauga Ice Precise masters synchronized skating team.
We went to France because we wanted to compete beyond the Regional level, which at the current juncture is the highest level of competition available to a masters team. As three-time regional champions, wishing that there was a place for us at the national level, the team decided to take on the challenge of international competition. We went to France knowing that we had worked very hard, both in practice and in planning our trip.
Our expectations for success we high, but none of us would have guessed that we would come home as the gold medallists. For the first time in our skating careers, we were on the ice accepting our medals. Our team was presented with flowers, a beautiful Lalique plaque and the Masters Aquitane Cup. The Canadian national anthem was played and all of us were quite overcome with emotion. We were standing on ice in France, accepting congratulations from the second and third-place teams from France and Finland. It was an experience that none of us could have imagined or will forget.
The next day the Pessac Club was hosting a gala. We were invited to skate our program, to represent Canada, and were given the honour of being the last performance of the evening. The audience exploded into a standing ovation; we were so overwhelmed and proud to represent our nation that many of us were in tears.
There were two other Canadian teams at the competition, both in the adult category, representing Port Stanley and Gloucester. After the podium presentations, we gathered in a huge circle around the Canadian flag. Our competitors recognized our national pride; applause filled the area as “les Canadiens” skated a simple footwork circle together. I don’t think our hosts will ever forget the spirit demonstrated.
As we were travelling, dressed in team gear, we created quite a stir. We were asked many times about the nature of our team. The resounding comment could be paraphrased as, “You go girls!! That’s awesome,” and “you’re how old???” On the way home, one of the other passengers, a Canadian, once he understood who we were, asked, “How did you do?” We knew instantly by this comment that we were not just on the ice as a team from Mississauga, Ontario, but from Canada and we were international champions. Not bad for a group of women who have been on the ice for many, many years throughout their life times, not only on their own blades, but, in most cases, on the ice with little ones who’s skates we’ve laced. It is our children who cheer us on - an interesting turn of tables for those of us who cheered them on for years. What could be a more dramatic illustration of skating for life?
Skate Canada congratulates the Mississauga Ice Precise masters synchronized skating team on their gold medal and outstanding performance in France.