By KAY BURNS
LEWISPORTE — Katie Blagdon, who was born and raised in Lewisporte (now residing in Clarenville and St. John’s), has recently been recognized in two significant ways for her work as a skating coach.
She has been coaching skating for 10 years. Most of her current coaching work takes place at the Flying Blades Figure Skating Club in Clarenville, although she also coaches weekends in CBS, St. John’s and Mount Pearl.
Blagdon was recently chosen as a recipient of the Newfoundland and Labrador 2012 Skate Canada Section Volunteer Coach Award. The criteria for this award relate to number of years coaching, as well as letters of recommendation from skaters, executive members, and parents. For Blagdon’s nomination there were eight – 10 letters sent along from different people. She was honoured to be chosen.
“Coach of the year for all of Newfoundland,” she said. “I’m so thankful that they put all the effort in to nominating me.”
Blagdon speaks of another recent honour also. She was one of 10 coaches from across Canada who were chosen to attend Canskate Coach University in Vancouver. The Canskate program is the learn-to-skate program for anyone joining figure skating, or skating in general.
“Skate Canada has been revamping this program and made a lot of changes,” said Blagdon.
The process for being chosen for this program required a nomination, followed by a series of forms to be filled out about the programs she coaches. The second round required a video-taped session of her teaching.
“I was lucky to be chosen; and I was trained in this new program so now in the Newfoundland section I’m the go-to person for all the clubs in Newfoundland who need my help,” she said. “I can come in and help them start to change their CanSkate program to fit the new program. I’m the resource person for clubs in Newfoundland now.”
Blagdon, at 28 years old, has worked tirelessly to achieve these recognitions. She began skating herself at four years old at the Notre Dame Skating Club in Lewisporte.
“Ever since I started skating I absolutely loved it, it’s all I wanted to do,” she recalls. “Skating was always the number one priority for me.”
She skated in numerous ice shows, and won medals at regional and provincial skating competitions. She was also part of the Auroras Synchronized Skating Team in Lewisporte from 1998 – 2002.
“Synchronized skating is different because it’s a team sport rather than just the individual,” she explained. “There were 12 – 16 skaters. We’d travel once a year to do a competition. It’s another side of skating that you don’t always get if you are single skater.”
The team is no longer a part of Lewisporte’s activities, but synchronized skating made such an impact on Katie that she continues to pursue it today and she is part of teams in St. John’s and in Mount Pearl. One of the teams she is currently involved in will be going to the Atlantics competition this year in Halifax.
Synchronized skating is also part of her coaching repertoire. In fact, her coaching includes “a bit of everything.”