(October 27, 2006)
Although it’s been some time since their last major competition, Geoff Squires and his ice dance partner Diana Barkley still take to the ice three to four times per week for skating practice.
Squires, who lives in Langley, B.C., originally teamed up with Barkley for the inaugural Skate Canada Adult Championships in 2004, and they have been skating together ever since. They look forward to competing at the adult championships each year, which is held in conjunction with the HomeSense National STARSkate Championships.
Both Squires and Barkley are very committed to the sport and dedicate numerous hours each week to the improvement of their skills, practicing at arenas throughout the Vancouver area.
Squires, who originally started skating 10 years ago, had no idea that skating would be such an important aspect of his life.
“I started (skating) at a time in my life when I needed to do something for me,” said Squires. “I knew that I needed to get some exercise for my health and I thought skating would be a good physical outlet since I skated for a few years as a child. I didn’t know skating would be so much fun!”
Not only have Squires and Barkley won medals at the adult championships, but they also had the opportunity to compete at the 2006 International Adult Figure Skating Competition, which was held in June in Oberstdorf, Germany, where they captured a bronze medal.
Despite the thrill of competing internationally, Squires, who hopes to skate well into his 80s, still enjoys his experience at the adult championships and looks forward to the event each year.
“Skating in the adult championships reaffirms to me that I am staying in good physical condition, and the bottom line is that it allows me to hang on to my youth,” said Squires.
Squires adds that one of the things he anticipates most when he travels to the adult championships is seeing all of the friends he and Barkley have made through skating over the years.
STARSkaters excited to compete at national championships
Jamie Sparkes, who has been skating since she was four-years-old and won the silver medal in the silver women’s triathlon event at the 2006 HomeSense National STARSkate Championships, agrees that the national championships is a very exciting event.
“It is an honour (to compete at the National STARSkate Championships) and I am so lucky to have had the chance to compete in a totally different aspect of skating than I was used to,” said Sparkes.
In addition to the excitement of the competition in Ottawa, Sparkes, who lives in Corner Brook, N.L., was also thrilled to meet other skaters from across the country, as well as compete in her first competition outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“My teammate and I got a chance to meet skaters from across the country and hear their stories,” said Sparkes. “We made some good friends and hopefully we will meet again, maybe at the next nationals (2007 HomeSense National STARSkate Championships).”
Sparkes has a busy training schedule. She trains five days each week on ice, and dedicates additional time two days per week to off-ice training. She also participates in other sporting activities on the weekends, and enjoys her once-a-week synchronized skating session.
But the numerous hours at the rink have been worth it for Sparkes. She says that skating is her passion, and the benefits include keeping her focused and challenging herself to reach her goals.
“The sport has given me so much,” said Sparkes. “To go from years of competitive skating and then to have STARSkate, which still has its competitive aspects but allows me to skate because I love it, is another benefit of the sport.”
Geoff Squires, Diana Barkley and Jamie Sparkes – three skaters who all have a different story in figure skating, but possess a similar love for the sport.
Squires & Barkley photos - courtesy James A. Wilkins
Sparkes photo - F. Scott Grant