You would think the pressure would be on Victoria Hamm to succeed at the Canada Winter Games.
After all, she is the only figure skater from the territory that will hit the ice to take on the best pre-novice skaters from around the country.
It’s quite the opposite, though. She’s going to do her best.
Hamm will compete in the pre-novice division – skaters under the age of 16 – and Hamm said she’s a bit nervous but also excited.
“I get nervous before every competition but this is bigger,” she said. “I’ve had a countdown now for a while so I’m looking forward to it.”
When it comes to Hamm being the only figure skater on the team, Brenda Dalton, Hamm’s coach, said she was the only one who made the commitment.
“It was a big commitment to prepare,” she said. “When the cycle for the Games began, we put the call out to those skaters who were eligible. Three skaters were at the same level as Victoria and three were above her.”
Two of those skaters backed out and some others didn’t make the cut, she added.
“Victoria was ready to do the summer camps and do competition events during the season,” she said.
Hamm’s competition season began back in August with the Wild Rose Invitational in Leduc, Alta., which Dalton said was the first time she had been up against more competitive skaters than what she was used to.
“It was a good way to see what type of competition is out there,” she said.
Next up was the Alberta-NWT Sectionals in, of all places, Red Deer this past October, where she managed to improve on her score from Leduc. Last weekend, though, was where Hamm had her best competition result of the season so far – a bronze medal in the pre-novice girls event of the Peace Region STARSkate Invitational in Grande Prairie, Alta.
Hamm said hitting the podium was a boost for the confidence.
“There wasn’t as many people as past events but I was hoping to win a medal,” she said.
“It was a smaller pool there but she bettered her last result and she’s peaking at the right time,” added Dalton. “She still thinks she isn’t up there but she does belong with those other skaters.”
At the Games, Hamm will start with the short program, where skaters must perform a series of required elements. They can perform them at any time during the routine but they must all be done in order to receive credit for them. That’s followed by the free skate, where the skaters can do whatever element they wish. The scores from both parts are added together for a skater’s final score.
Hamm has no pie-in-the-sky aspirations about hitting the podium in Red Deer but rather to improve on Grande Prairie.
“I mostly want a personal best and not to fall,” she said with a chuckle.
Dalton agreed with Hamm’s synopsis.
“She wants to go out and better her scores,” she said. “Some of the other skaters in the competition are doing triples (jumps) and she’s not there yet. A personal best would be awesome.”
Figure skating is happening in week two of the Games, meaning Hamm will have some extra time to fine-tune her routines before leaving for Red Deer.
Dalton said that fine-tuning will include working on spins and choreography.