Trail figure skater Favaro off to BC Winter Games

Madison Favaro was selected for the Zone 1 Kootenay figure skating team to compete at the 2012 B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, Feb. 23-26.

A Montrose teenager loves to skate and being chosen to compete at an elite level is icing on the proverbial cake.

Madison Favaro was elated upon hearing the news of her selection to the Zone 1 Kootenay figure skating team earlier his month to compete at the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, Feb. 23-26.

Favaro skates for the Beaver Valley Skating Club and is the only figure skater from the Greater Trail area named to the Zone 1 team.

“I’m really excited,” said Favaro. “I’ve been skating for about 10 almost 11 years – I love it.”

Beginning skating at four-years-old is one thing but sticking with it takes persistence, personality and guts, three of the more intangible but necessary elements if you want to be a figure skater.

“She is a very hard worker, and will keep picking herself up every time she falls,” said Shelley Verhelst chair of the Kootenay Region for Skate Canada. “She’ll go out there and practice and practice, fall and do it again.”

Figure skating is one of the more challenging sports to learn and competition can be agonizing. It includes countless hours of training, repetitively falling on a very hard and cold surface. And once a measure of competence is achieved, a skater must on cue throw himself or herself as high as they can into the air, spinning as many times as possible before landing on two very thin steel blades – not just once but countless times, smiling regardless of peril or penalties. Hockey players at least have padding, figure skaters a sheer film of Lycra.

“They’ve got to enjoy what they’re doing and the personal satisfaction that they get out of saying, ‘Hey I finally got this jump,’” says Verhelst. “Skating is very much a personal sport.”

And thanks to a family of figure skaters that began with her mom and her sister Cassidy, Madison has grown to embrace and excel at the sport.

“She just loved it all along,” said Madison’s mom, Christine Favaro. “Both of our kids when they were little we just let them try everything and this is her thing, that’s her passion.”

The top two skaters from sections made the team after competing against 70 other skaters, and Favaro was chosen as the “wildcard” by the Skate Canada Section Office.

Not that Favaro won a lottery, her inclusion is based on performance, her completion of the pre-novice eligibility testing, not to mention the 14-year-old skated to a silver medal in the regional’s last week and can look to gain at least a personal best at the Winter Games next month.

While competitive figure skating has been marred in the past by controversial judging, changes to the point scoring system has since standardized scoring criteria.

With the relatively new ISU judging system, each time skaters compete they get a point value so the next time they compete they can try to improve on it.

Regardless of how a skater places, each one can mark personal bests and continually try to improve, explained Verhelst.

“It’s very rewarding that way for the skaters now . . . if you improve your personal best by five points then that’s a victory right there.”

Favaro will perform a long and short program, each judged on the basis of a technical score and components such as skating skills, transitions, choreography, execution and interpretation.

No matter how she finishes, the B.C. Winter Games is a great venue for competition, sportsmanship, and an opportunity to meet fellow athletes.

“I think it’s most about the experience of going and traveling with the team and being with the team,” says mom, Christine Favaro. “I just want her to have a really good experience.”