Spending a week in February in Prince George may not be at a lot of people’s to-do list, but for Oak Bay’s Alisa Lyesina there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.
Lyesina will be representing B.C. in the pre-novice women figure skating competition at the Canada Winter Games this month in Prince George.
“I’m really excited,” said the 13-year-old.
She said this will be her toughest competition yet but she’s confident she has a good chance of reaching the podium.
“I’ve been skating really good lately and if I can skate at the competition the way I’ve been practising I think I have a good chance.”
Lyesina finished fourth at the provincials last fall, earning a spot at the Western Canadian Challenge where she also posted a strong showing. But it was on the video monitor that Lyesina secured her spot on Team B.C. for the Games.
“They had a kind of interesting process,” Lyesina’s coach Jamie McGrigor says of the way they selected the two pre-novice skaters for Team B.C.
The three skaters being considered for the team were videotaped performing their programs at home, with the selection committee meeting Jan. 27 in Vancouver to hold a virtual competition.
“That’s the first time we’ve actually done that,” said McGrigor, adding that technology has reduced the need for judges to be at the rink.
“It’s a good way to do it because you’re getting the one that’s got the hot hand right now.”
The committee selected Lyesina along with Olivia Gran of Kelowna.
“Maybe I’m prejudiced because I coach her, but I think she was the obvious choice,” said McGrigor.
Lyesina will leave for Prince George Feb. 21 to take part in the Games that run until March 1, and McGrigor is confident in her chances of bringing home a medal.
“She is one of the best, if not the best, pre-novice lady in Canada,” said McGrigor, calling both Lyesina and Gran amazing skaters. “There’s a possibility for both those girls to be on the podium.”
McGrigor said Lyesina is a gifted short program skater, pointing to her triple jumps as one of her strengths.
“She actually has two different ones, that’s pretty extraordinary in itself. She does them full speed and they’re huge and she attacks with a vengeance,” he said. “When she’s hitting her stuff it’s kind of awe inspiring.”
Lyesina has been heading over to the rink five times a week, saying she’s been practising getting her triples consistent and working to be able to land both during her long program.
“I think if I can stay relaxed and not overthink things” Lyesina believes she has a good chance at a medal. “And if I make a mistake I just need to move on and not let it get to my head.”