Figure skater Amanda Wright

Oak Bay skater to represent B.C.

Amanda Wright is the first Vancouver Island-based figure skater in seven years to make it through in a singles discipline

Amanda Wright can’t get enough of the ice.

She trains as a figure skater six days a week and on the one day she has off – the Oak Bay teen doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Yet, when she has an early skate time, Wright’s up and ready to glide.

Even at school, the 17-year-old thinks about what she will do when she hits the rink again.

With that focus, it’s no surprise Wright will represent B.C. in the Skate Canada Challenge on Dec. 4 and 5 in Regina. She is the first Vancouver Island-based figure skater in seven years to make it through in a singles discipline. If she cracks the top 18 in Regina, Wright gets an invite to compete at Skate Canada’s junior National Championships in Ottawa, next January.

The self-proclaimed perfectionist says she’s surprised by her success, citing her performance at provincial sectional championships in Richmond earlier this month.

“I had a not so good short program. I came in eighth,” Wright said. “But it was very close, 1.7 (points) behind third. So I did not have a lot to make up for.”

In the long program, she didn’t fall, but “stepped out” while landing a triple toe. Thinking she would finish in fifth, she watched one-by-one as other skaters, who she perceived as being better than her, hit the rink. She ended up placing fourth overall snaring the final spot to represent B.C.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Wright said. “I almost started crying.”

Born in Oak Bay, the teen started skating at age two. By five she was figure skating, but then moved to Kelowna, where she didn’t skate as much. She moved back to Oak Bay with her family when she was 10 and started feeling a passion for the sport.

Jamie McGrigor started coaching Wright when she was 11. He calls her dedication and hard work impressive.

“Usually when we get kids when they are 11 or 12, they are usually pretty limited because so much development stuff happens prior to being eight-years-old,” McGrigor said. “Five versus 11, that’s six years of development and making sure everything is perfected. Amanda is really smart and a great skater, which is why she’s coming along.”

He added that Wright is the perfect figure skater to coach. She comes in early, wanting to skate and she does what she’s told on the rink.

Competition is fierce when trying to represent your province, McGrigor said. Each province can only send four skaters to the Skate Canada Challenge, which he said gives some provinces unfair advantage.

“Nova Scotia can send four skaters, but they have about 900,000 people in the province,” McGrigor said. “B.C. has 4.6 million and can only send four.

“It’s crazy competitive here.”

Wright’s mother and uncle were both figure skaters when they were younger, which may have influenced her passion for the sport. Both her parents work full-time so it’s her grandmother who drives her to every practice.

“Except on Thursdays because that’s when she curls,” Wright said with a laugh.

Besides school and skating, Wright also dances and squeezes in a social life which includes a younger sister who isn’t into figure skating but is into team sports – a concept Wright can’t understand.

“My big thing with skating is, I am a perfectionist. And it’s just me if I mess up,” Wright said. “On a team, if someone else messes up, I don’t think I can handle it. If it’s me, fine, I messed up. But someone else? No.”

Wright’s skating goal is to master all the triple jumps. She can currently land the triple toe, but she is working on mastering the triple loop, flip, and lutz.

Next year, because of her age, she enters a new category where she will have a shot at international competition.

The Grade 12 student is set to graduate next June and her career goal is to be an orthodontist.

She plans to keep skating.

“It makes me so sad to think that I have to quit someday,” Wright said. “I hope to go to school and compete next year. I think I’ll be able to do it.

“I know I can.”