Finding his stride

Bonnie Learning
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Labrador skater hoping to make it to Canadian championships

Jerrod Myrden of Happy Valley-Goose Bay was recently named Nova Scotia’s  male athlete of the year. Myrden attends Acadia University in Wolfville, and is currently prepping for some national qualifiers that he hopes will get him to his first Canadian skating championships.

 

When it comes to the world of figure skating, starting out at age 11 is relatively late.

However, that didn’t stop Jerrod Myrden from going on to achieve success in his chosen sport and now — at age 21 — he is looking to move higher up in the competitive world of figure skating.

When Myrden entered the skating world, he had nothing more on his mind than to skate recreationally.

However, he quickly became hooked on the intricacies of the sport.

“I joined skating as more of a social thing,” he recalls. “I made lots of friends and skated four times a week, and attended skating camps in Corner Brook in the summers.”

However, Myrden said, with the numbers of kids involved in the program, lessons were very limited.

“We only received 15 minutes of (figure skating) lessons a week.”

That, said Myrden, pushed him to train more independently, as he watched figure skating videos online and received feedback from fellow skaters on his techniques and progress, eventually going on to represent Labrador both regionally and provincially in different competitions.

After graduating high school, he decided to get back into it on a more regular basis, as Acadia students were offered free ice time.

During Myrden’s first year of university, one of the Acadia skating coaches saw him on the ice and asked around about him.

“I told him I wasn’t really involved in the competitive side of figure skating,” said Myrden.

But after completing a few skating tests in 2011, Myrden did start skating competitively, representing Nova Scotia in his first national competition  — the Skate Canada nationals — two years ago.

“That was a big eye opener for me,” said Myrden, who now skates at the senior men’s level.

“There were skaters there that had competed in the worlds, the junior worlds, and Olympic athletes as well.

“Being around more competitive skaters and competitions really pushed me to become a better skater, to push myself. I do triple the amount of skating I did at home (in Goose Bay); there are just more opportunities (to advance in Nova Scotia).”

His hard work is paying off — Myrden was recently named Nova Scotia’s male athlete of the year.

He will also be competing for a spot on the national scene again, should he be successful in the qualifiers in Nova Scotia in October and Montreal in December.

“I am really hoping to get to the Canadian championships in January,” he said.

To help achieve his goal, Myrden even hired a professional choreographer for the first time this year, to help polish his programs.

“If this should turn out to be my last year skating, I want it to be the best; I want to step up my game and make it to the Canadian championships.”

Myrden said once you make it there, that’s when people start noticing.

“Especially from being from a small place; you get invites to higher competitions.

“Considering where I came from, I am happy where I am.”

Myrden said he is hoping to find some sponsors to help him achieve his goals in moving up the competitive figure skating ladder.

“It’s not often someone from Labrador makes it to the national stage in figure skating; it would be great to get support to help with the cost of travel to competitions.”

In between training, Myrden is also solidly focused on completing his kinesiology degree, as he heads back to Acadia for his final year.

As for his figure skating career after that?

“My coach and I talked about it … I might take a year off and work on a cruise ship — you have to be at a senior level to do that, and the fact I can do a back flip would help me land a job.

“After that, I am thinking about going into chiropractics and eventually, becoming a skating coach once I am done competitively.”

bonnie.learning@tc.tc.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Acadia, Corner Brook Goose Bay Montreal

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