After a whirlwind of competing at first the Olympics, then the World Championships and the World Cup Final, hometown Ponoka speedskater Maddison Pearman did a tour of local schools and businesses from March 16 to 20.
Pearman stopped by Ponoka Secondary Campus and Ponoka Elementary School to talk to students on March 17 and visited the town office on March 18.
At the town, Pearman met with Mayor Kevin Ferguson, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA and Minister of Culture Ron Orr and the town’s chief administrative officer Sandra Lund, who thanked her for “being such as outstanding role model for our community.”
She also made an appearance at Ponoka Boston Pizza on March 20, signing autographs and talking to diners who had come to see her.
Pearman finished 15th overall at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Final, held in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, on March 12 and 13. She competed in one event, the women’s 1500m, coming in 13th place.
“I’m happy with the overall ranking in the world,” said Pearman. “(I’m) not super happy with my time from the race but it was a great experience for me and I learned a lot from it.
Heading into the World Cup Final, Pearman said she was “really just looking to have some fun and throw down a good race to end this long, but amazing season.”
She was on the reserve list until a week before the finals, so she said she was just excited to be competing and to execute her race plan.
Pearman said speedskating in the Netherlands is “equivalent to hockey in Canada.” The Thialf Oval were the event was held holds around 12,500 people and it was sold out.
“The atmosphere in the oval was something I have never experienced before and I don’t think I ever will again. The crowd was so loud and crazy.”
Before the World Cup Final, she competed at the ISU World Championships in Hamar, Norway from March 3 to 6.
Pearman placed 12th in Hamar, racing in the spring portion of the competition, in the two 500m and two 1000m events.
“Overall I was happy with my rank,” she said.
Pearman explained the World Sprint and World Allround Championships are fun competitions because the time from each race is converted to points and then the skater with the lowest total score after four distances wins.
“So it really comes down to not necessarily having just one good race, but putting together four solid races,” she said.
She said she expected going into the competition that she would be near the bottom in both the 500m races because she focuses primarily on the 1000m and 1500m.
“However if I could race well in both the 1000m races than I knew that I could move up in the rankings. I would have liked to race a bit better in my 1000m on the second day and finish in the top 10 but it was my first World Championships and it was a really great experience for me.”