It’s a dark, chilly night at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex and 17-year-old Alexa Scott is braving the cold, training for a busy February.
After winning four gold medals at the Canadian Junior Long Track Championships, the Clandeboye resident will soon be off to Europe for both a World Cup event and the World Junior Championships in Italy.
“I’m so excited,” Scott exclaimed. “Last year I went, and they were in Salt Lake City, which is cool. But I’ve never been to Europe, so it’s a huge step. I’ve always wanted to race competitively outside the country.”
The World Juniors will run at the same time as the Canada Games in Red Deer, so as soon as she unlaces the skates, it’ll be straight back to Canada for another big competition.
Scott’s only been speed skating the last eight years. It was a sport she turned to after first trying figure skating.
“But I loved skating, so my coach is like “you should go try speed skating.” So I went out to Brandon, Manitoba. My mom drove me out. And I tried speed skating, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
“She was young enough and still in a developmental stage where she could really adapt the technique, and thrive,” provincial team coach Tyler Derraugh said.
Manitoba also produced a national junior champion last season in Winnipeg’s Tyson Langelaar, which begs the question — how do world class skaters keep coming out of the province, despite having just two per cent of the competitive speed skaters in the country. The speed skaters point to the hard ice, which acts like resistance training.
“This is like the hardest rink in the world to skate in probably,” Scott said. “It’s cold, it’s windy all the time. So when we go and we skate in Calgary where it’s no wind, and so nice, it’s just so much more of an advantage.”
Scott still has one more year of junior eligibility remaining, and believes qualifying for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is very much a realistic possibility.
“Only three years away, she’d be 20. And with a lot of skaters, your prime is usually late 20’s, 28. But the way she is going, anything is possible. She’s definitely going to be out on the track battling for a spot for the next Olympics.”
WATCH: Speed Skater Alexa Scott