Games take different shape for local speed skating sisters

Geared up: Brooke and Maddison Pearman show off some of their Canada Games swag. The girls competed in short track figure skating and said it was an experience of a lifetime.

CHARLES TWEED

It was a dramatic week for Brooke and Maddison Pearman in Halifax, N.S. at the Canada Games.

Beginning with opening ceremonies, where the girls marched in under the team Alberta flag in front of a sold out crowd, They glowed — smiling ear to ear — when asked about the ceremonies.

“It was one of the best parts, it was so much fun,” said Brooke, 17.

“We got on TV, in the corner of the screen and then Brooke had a bunch of people texting her to say, ‘We just saw you on TV,’ it was awesome,” said Maddison, 14.

The event would take two very different paths for the girls after the ceremonies.

While skating in the preliminary heats, Brooke fell and crashed into the boards. The bump left her with a headache, sore neck and a trip to see the game’s doctor.

With concussions front and centre in the sporting community, no chances were taken.

“I was diagnosed with a concussion and they pulled me out,” said Brooke. “I was crying for hours and it wasn’t fun. It was controversial and we were trying to get them to reverse it, but it didn’t happen.”

With her games over Brooke turned her attention to supporting her Alberta teammates.

“It was a great experience, my first race was so nerve-racking with all of the people. It was incredible — butterflies,” said Brooke. “But the hardest part was watching all of my teammates skate and not me. I was there to support them but it wasn’t easy.”

Maddison’s games started slowly — she finished 32 in the 500m —but seemed to find her groove as the competition progressed — finishing 21 in the 1,500m and all the way up to 16 in the 1,000m.

“My first race, I had the number 1 skater in Canada and I was like, great,” said Maddison sarcastically.

“I have never been to a competition like that, especially being one of the youngest kids there and hopefully in four years I’ll be one of the older people there. It was good to race the top people in the county and get the experience.”

The hardest part for the girls may have come in the relay. With Brooke out of the games the team had to rely on their fifth in the final. Unfortunately, she was also diagnosed with a concussion, effectively eliminating the team’s chances to get a medal.

“The Alberta relay team is cursed. We haven’t made the final in over 20 years and we finally make it and we’re pulled,” said Brooke.

All in all, the girls were really happy with their Canada Games experience and believe it will help them in their speed skating careers.

“We have a meet coming up, and I feel totally prepared. I feel like I’ve skated against the best, so I feel like I’ve got the experience and am totally ready for it,” said Brooke.

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