A Ponoka native has made the leap to the international speed skating stage.
Maddison Pearman will be among 15 skaters that will represent Canada at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Speed Skating Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Pearman will also compete in her first World Cup event in Calgary on Feb. 7 and 8.
Pearman, 24, has been in the sport for nearly two decades and takes after her mom.
“I started speed skating at the age of five. My mom grew up speed skating in Winnipeg, so when my two sisters and I were old enough, we joined the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating club as it was the closest club to us,” she said.
Now, Pearman is training full-time at the Calgary Olympic Oval as part of the Canadian national team. In addition to studying Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, she is also busy as a part-time guest relations supervisor at the Oval and helping coach the Special Olympics speed skating group.
Being named to the group of skaters to represent Canada at the Four Continents and then be in her first-ever World Cup event on home ice is a huge leap for Pearman as a skater.
“This is a big stepping stone in my goal for the 2022 Olympics,” she said, even though the team won’t be chosen until Jan. 2022.
“But making the World Cup team is a big confidence booster for next season and it shows me that I am one step closer to that goal.”
Pearman is clearly excited about the two races, more so than when she first stepped on the big speed skating stage in 2011 at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
“It was obviously exciting at 14 making the Games, as it was huge stepping stone to where I am today,” she said.
“Being able to compete against the best in Canada at such a young age was a great experience and now I will be gearing up to race against some of the best skaters in the world.
“I’ve been training in Calgary for six years now, yearning for a spot on the World Cup team to make my mark internationally and I’m really excited that all the hard work is starting to pay off.”
She is hoping to compete at more World Cup event next season in order to get more high level racing experience and the chance to travel some more.
“Ultimately, I want to be skating at my best in a few years and make that Olympic team in 2022,” Pearman added.
As for the Four Continents event, she doesn’t quite know what to expect since this is the first of its kind to be held.
“I know there will be a lot of strong skaters from the countries competing and it will be a great competition to prepare myself for the World Cup,” she said.
“There is always going to be pressure whenever you are racing and the more experience I can get internationally, the better I will perform.”
Her hope is to garner some top 10, possibly top five, performances at the event.
Anyone hoping to catch Pearman on the ice can search online for the live stream of the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championship on Jan. 31 at 1:30 p.m. and Feb. 1 at noon.