Durham Chronicle Volume XLIV, Issue 11
34 The Chronicle April 10 - 16, 2018 chronicle.durhamcollege.ca Sports The skating life of Alicia Smith Photograph by Michael Bromby Alicia Smith won a silver medal in the 2016 Canadian Special Olympics and now works with children. This is one story in a series profiling people who have made an impact in Durham From the Olympics to youth work Michael Bromby The Chronicle Alicia Smith remembers the first time she saw Olympic medalist Elvis Stojko skate. He was at the same arena and they were being coached by the same person. She was shocked by his talent and the tricks he could complete. “I can’t believe he jumped higher than the boards,” she says. In that moment, she knew she too could perform at high levels. She went on to win a silver medal at the Canadian Special Olympics. Smith has Down syndrome. She also has a small stutter and feels emotional at times but she never lets her disability hold her back from skating. “When I go on the ice I come alive,” she says. Smith started figure skating at 13-years-old when she lived in Markham. She moved to Uxbridge with her family and continued skating at the Uxbridge skating club with coach Trinette Goarley. In 2016, she competed in the Special Olympics and won her medal for a solo. To her, figure skating means picking her own costumes and music, which allows her to transform on the ice. Her favourite routine is her solo of the bird. She says it makes her feel free, in part because she picks the songs based on how she feels. “When I skate, I tell a story of what I’ve been going through, but skate it out,” Smith says. When it comes to performing, Smith says she sometimes struggles with executing the moves properly. When I skate, I tell a story of what I've been going through. It makes her feel angry for not remembering or knowing how to get the move, but she perseveres until she succeeds. Although she has had her fumbles, there was always support on her way to the Special Olympics. She says coaches pushed her to be the best she could, and with the help of her family, she knew she could win the silver medal. Today, when she starts to doubt herself, she says she apologizes to her family and friends. They just tell her to stop doubting herself and show them what she can do. They show her a lot of support by encouraging her and telling her she can do it. “Think about the positive, you can do this don’t be nervous or scared,” says Smith about how her family encourages her. At the 2016 Special Olympics there were a lot of surprises for Smith, including her sister showing up. Her favourite memory was going to Newfoundland and meeting different people such as Stephen Graham, a bronze medal speed skater from Orillia. “A good friend is in speed skating and everywhere I go he is there,” she says. “He won four gold medals in speed skating,” She’s no longer skating competitively. She’s pursuing a career working with children. She has taken on two different jobs, one as a cleaner inside a technology company and the other working with a Whitby youth group. Smith attended Durham College for child and youth work. She would love to work for the YMCA and help others follow their dreams. She still dreams of going back to the Special Olympics because it is what she loves to do. “Every day is a fresh new start,” she says. Her advice to young people wanting to strive for the Olympics? “Go after what you love to do, don’t let anyone tell you what to do,” she says.
chronicle.durhamcollege.ca April 10 - 16, 2018 The Chronicle 35