Isabella Arney skating at Richmond Olympic Oval. (Contributed file photo)

Amid COVID-19, elite White Rock figure skater has been honing her craft

Despite not having access to ice, Isabella Arney stayed dedicated to her sport

Many elite athletes had their lives upended with the unexpected cancellation of competitive sports over the past six months, but while some looked at the opportunity as a break, others used it as a time to hone their skills.

Decorated White Rock figure skater Isabella Arney, 16, is being lauded by Connaught Skating Club for her drive to improve during COVID-19-induced sport hiatus.

Connaught director of skating programs Keegan Murphy said the young athlete, who has won a number of provincial and national titles, has advanced her skills despite missing out on the key component of her sport – access to ice.

“It should be recognized that Isabella’s dedication and commitment to the training during such a strange time was really remarkable,” Murphy told Peace Arch News Monday. “As a coach, these are the times that you really see which athletes are truly dedicated.”

RELATED: White Rock figure skater strikes gold

In phase 1 of COVID-19, Isabella’s training consisted of virtual Zoom classes with her coach, including ballet class, Pilates, jumping class, fitness class and flexibility.

From there, she moved outdoors, with in-person training sessions in phase 2. And phase 3 brought the opportunity to get back on the ice.

“Being away from the ice, for just a weekend, is sometimes difficult for an elite figure skater. However, over three months was something none of us had ever experienced,” Isabella told PAN, adding that typically, competitive skaters are on the ice for three hours a day.

Isabella said her desire to get back on the ice was the key to finding the motivation to keep up with the physically-demanding off-ice training.

“In these classes, I would work my hardest because I knew how much it would benefit me,” she said. “These classes gave us hope that we would get back on the ice sometime soon.”

The Connaught club is currently training out of Burnaby, but members hope to get back into their home rink, the Richmond Olympic Oval, sometime next month.

What remains an uncertainty is what competitive skate will look like, and how it will be judged, when that time comes.

“We’re starting to be very creative with that process. Can it be judged? Can we have a couple of judges in the ice rink and then do some of the accounting part virtually? It’s all very experimental right now. I believe there will be competition starting in October, but the details of how those are run are really to be confirmed.”

Isabella said she’s most looking forward to the opportunity to showcase her new short program, which was choreographed by former national figure skating champ, Joey Russell.

“Also, I am looking forward to that amazing feeling you get when you compete. The ice to yourself, just everyone watching you do what you love most,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusFigure Skating

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade

Staff suggest new designs for future builds to maximize school space

Delta McDonald’s temporarily closed after employees test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Annacis Island location (1285 Cliveden Ave.) reported testing positive on Sept. 18

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

‘That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table’: superintendent

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read