Local athlete, Atera Kirkpatrick, will be representing figure skaters from Cochrane and area, as a competitor at this year’s Alberta Winter Games in Grand Prairie on Feb. 16 to 19.
Kirkpatrick first started figure skating when she was around seven-years-old and continued to skate for the next seven years. With a love for the sport, Kirkpatrick said her favourite part is always landing a jump.
“It’s just because you work so hard for it,” she said. “It’s really satisfying when it all works together.”
Now competing at the provincial stage, she will be one of two skaters from her respective zone that will be participating in the Star 6 category, alongside 16 other competitors. For Kirkpatrick, she said it is a crazy experience to be one of the selected few going to compete.
“I knew the Winter Games were happening, but it wasn’t really my main focus,” Kirkpatrick said. “So, when my mom and coach said it was happening, I was kind of confused was since it wasn’t my main focus.”
Kirkpatrick explained that at the games, she will have a six-minute warm-up followed by a two-and-a-half-minute program.
“Each of your elements gets points, then you also get points based off of your speed, how difficult your transitions are, and things like that,” she said.
Overall, Kirkpatrick said her strategy to aim for the top involves various aspects of her performance to ensure she has a well-balanced program.
“I want to do my best and focus on my speed, not put all my weight on the jumps, and spread out my focus so I perform well,” Kirkpatrick said. “And have really good quality, rather than throwing out jumps and stuff.”
Kirkpatrick’s coach for the last five years, Lynanne Bjerke, outlined that as one of two athletes from her respective zone is no small feat.
“Atera is a fantastic skater who works very hard, and I’m so proud to be her coach,” Bjerke said.
Kirkpatrick said she would like to thank her mom, dad, coaches, and all her friends who have been very encouraging for her throughout her journey.