Jun 03, 2020
Local Hero Cynthia Medeiros
It was disappointing news: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the skating season would end early at Kitimat’s Tamitik Arena. The Snow Valley Skating Club’s annual gala proceeded, but the popular event was closed to the public. Then the ice was removed, weeks ahead of schedule. With no return date in sight, skaters were stuck at home, wondering what to do next.
Cynthia Medeiros had the answer. The Snow Valley club’s director of skating organized a skaters’ workout, held every morning, Monday to Friday. As many as 48 participants ranging in age from four to 30-something now follow Cynthia and other coaches from home, via online platforms, in a variety of exercises that help maintain fitness levels and build core strength. The skaters are also offered advice about good sleeping practices, healthy eating, and spending time outdoors.
Just as important, says Cynthia, the workouts keep the skaters feeling connected to their skating family, and less isolated.
“It just didn’t seem right to end the season so abruptly,” says Cynthia, a highly-qualified skating instructor with more than two decades coaching experience. “We’re like a family, and suddenly we were torn apart.”
There are no fees associated with the 40-minute workouts; Cynthia and her team volunteer their time. Guest coaches also appear online from time to time, among them Canadian figure skating icon and Olympic gold medalist Meagan Duhamel.
Some of the skaters’ parents are known to get involved as well. For example, a group of dads battled it out in a hotly-contested push-up challenge. They probably felt it the next day. Even a veteran athlete like Cynthia can occasionally feel a bit sore after one of her workouts. But seeing the smiles on her young skaters’ faces makes it all worthwhile, she says. The ice may have melted, but the family is reunited.