Talented twins hit the ice

Oak Bay boys tackle juvenile boys U14 competition of the BC Winter Games



An ice-time dominated by blue jackets indicates a high level of skaters who attended nationals. The jackets feature the BC/YT logo showing they represented our territory.

Among those wearing the jackets with the BC/YT logo on the left chest, are a pair of Oak Bay twins, John and Christopher Horwood.

They represented the province in different disciplines, John in pairs and Christopher in ice dance. This week, the 12-year-olds tackle the juvenile boys U14 competition of the BC Winter Games in Penticton, which features singles competition.

Skating is a family affair. The duo followed the footsteps of their older sisters (who have since dropped it in favour of other athletics), donning skates just as they could barely walk. Their dad skated as a youngster and attributes many skills to the sport, including his agility as a trick water skier.

The brothers, who skate with Racquet Club of Victoria Figure Skating Club based at UVic’s Ian Stewart Complex, have understated Games goals.

“A clean skate,” says John.

“A pb (or personal best),” says Christopher.

That’s the attitude coach Matt Willis is happy to hear.

“You can’t think about what other skaters are going to do. You have to skate your best and let the chips fall where they will,” Willis says.

The twins have the background, athleticism and focus to achieve those goals.

“They’re very naturally athletic,” Willis says. “They’re not the same … but they’re raised the same. They are disciplined and they are polite and respectful of coaches.”

Where they are different is that John is a focused technical skater while Christopher oozes charm.

“John focuses on the technical jumps and spins. Chris has more charisma. He’s Mr. Personality on the ice,” says Willis.

With scoring factors in both those areas, they often balance each other out in competition.

John is known for his double axel, mastered last year.

“He learned that a long time before I did,” says Christopher. “We’re good at different jumps.”

Christopher is often compared to Canadian skater, and 1976 Olympic bronze medalist, Toller Cranston.

Even at this young stage, as they enter a competitive stream and are involved in many sports, they often face difficult choices.

Their basketball team usually ranks low in Victoria and District Amateur Basketball Association’s Night League, says John. “We’re in the A this year and we have a good shot at winning. Our game is the same time as departure,” he says.

To allow them to play in the basketball game, the Horwoods hoped to get the required permission for athletes to travel to the event individually, not on Games Society transportation. Still, John’s slightly disappointed at missing the “team travel and bonding.”

“You get to know your teammates,” he says.

The Games close Feb. 28 in Penticton.

Follow the action online at bcgames.org where statistics, photos and results are posted as the Games progress.