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Local Olympian hopes fundraising will save Royal Glenora Club's figure-skating program
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:38PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:26PM MST
A gold medal Olympian says she’s heart-broken that the high cost of renovations could shut down the Royal Glenora Club’s figure-skating programs, and hopes fundraising efforts from the skating community can help repair the outdated facility.
Jamie Sale’s training base was Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club, a private club that has been made famous for training world and Olympic champions like Sale, her partner David Pelletier, as well as four-time world champion Kurt Browning and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.
The club is in danger of shutting down its figure-skating program because it can’t afford an approximately $2-million renovation to repair the outdated facility’s ice plant and concrete foundation.
“I just feel like it would be such a loss to the city,” Sale said to CTV News on Tuesday.
“Knowing what the Glenora has done for Edmonton in sport, especially in figure-skating, and the legacy that has been built there, I’ve had so many great years of training there. We have great coaches there still. And just to see it go away is just such a shame. It would break my heart.”
Sale started going to the Glenora when she was just 10-years-old and is devastated the club may need to turn away figure skaters.
“Internationally, it’s made such a different for Canada as well. We’ve had so many international skaters wanting to train at the Royal Glenora Club, specifically. And now the coaches are saying, ‘sorry you can’t come.’ We’re turning people down now. And that is so heart-breaking for me,” Sale said.
Jeremy Thiessen, president of the Royal Glenora Club, says the decision to shut down the figure-skating programs came after years of discussion.
“This is an issue that the board of directors has wrestled with for several years now and we’re in a situation where the design life cycle of the facility, we’re well beyond that,” Thiessen said.
Members have voted against borrowing money to pay for the repairs or to a partnership with the city, that could have seen the public use the facility as well.
Thiessen says the figure-skating community has approached the club with an idea to help raise money for the repairs, which may be the only option left.
Sale is among those hoping to help raise money to ensure the club’s figure-skating programs aren’t shut down.
“We definitely want to keep putting proposals forward about ideas on how to raise money and we have ideas,” Sale said.
“I know if a lot of people in this city knew that that was going to be shutting down, they would probably step up to help us.”
Even if the money is raised, the club’s members would still need to vote on whether it should go towards funding repairs to improve the skating facility.
Thiessen says the club is ‘supportive’ of the ideas being put forward by the skating community.
“We’re very cognisant of the legacy that the figure-skating community has not just in the city but in the country, and we want to work with the skating community to see if we can continue skating at the Royal Glenora,” Thiessen said.
“The skating community has approached us on a fundraising initiative and the board is very supportive of the skating community and wants to work with them on that initiative and we hope to find some success with that.”
Sale wonders if there's more than just aging equipment bringing an end to figure-skating at the club.
"Maybe they want a new gym club or gymnastics, I don't know, but I strongly believe whatever they replace it with won't bring that attention to the Glenora or the city," she said.
The club expects to shut down its figure-skating programs at the end of May, if the fundraising efforts are not successful.
With files from David Ewasuk