As a teenager Winfield Skating Club member Karen Blyth-Smith was used to pulling off jumps as part of her skating routine.
Then as an adult she moved onto more artistic elements of figure skating as a member of the synchronized figure skating team in Winfield.
When that died off, the mother-of-three stayed on her skates, but just at public skates during the winter.
However, two years ago things changed for Blyth-Smith, now 42, as she and a couple of other adult members of the Winfield Skating Club decided to get back into training for competition and went as far as taking part in the Canadian National Adult Figure Skating Championships, held last year in nearby Kamloops.
That experience motivated Blyth-Smith, who kept at her training and this year won two gold medals and a silver medal at the same championships, this time held in Regina.
“My goal wasn’t to win, it was just to skate well and to be able to be in shape and enjoy competing,” said Blyth-Smith. “I was really pleased. I don’t think I could have skated any better. I was a little nervous on one of my dances but the others went really well. I was really pleased and I have no regrets.”
As a mother of three kids—ages 4, 6, and 8—Blyth-Smith had to be creative to start the process of getting back into skating shape and being ready to compete. Part of the reason she wanted to pursue skating again was to get herself in shape and get active. But having a family to look after doesn’t always leave time for yourself.
“After the kids were in bed I would do my off ice workout, so sometimes that was late at night,” she said. “I did some early morning training before the kids were up. I skated with the Winfield Skating Club and my daughter is skating too so we would both go.”
After her first experience in Kamloops, Blyth-Smith decided to keep training and focus on this year’s national championships where she improved drastically on her results and brought home the three medals, luckily one for each child. She admits that winning was nice but says the atmosphere of skating and just taking part was much more important.
“You are competing against people that are in the same place as you,” she said. “There are a lot of different reasons people are skating. It’s really a victory for each of them because it takes a lot of preparation and training.”
While Blyth-Smith was on her own out on the ice, it was truly a family effort to allow her to get back into the competition.
She travelled with her mother to the event and mom even made her costumes. And Blyth-Smith credits her husband of 10 years Alec for allowing her the time to focus on her skating.
“He looked after the kids and he’s been very supportive, I couldn’t have asked for a better cheerleader,” she said. “For my mom, I think it made it worth all the lessons and all the money she put in to my skating as a child to see me still pursuing the sport.”
The sport of adult figure skating is relatively new as the Canadian championships are just over a decade old. But Blyth-Smith says more and more people are getting back into it all the time. And she says now that she has gotten herself back into shape and into skating form, she will likely continue to get on the ice.
“I’m going to sick with the off-ice training and then I imagine I will be back on the ice in the fall one way or another,” she said. “It’s so good to be active again. It’s really night and day for having energy and feeling good and having more energy. I definitely want to keep being active and keep skating and being a good example for my kids.”