Local skater takes eighth at all-Ontarios

Michael Nelson said the most important thing he learned from his first competition was that he needs to add an axel to his routine.
The 11-year-old returned from the Trillium Starskate Championships in Kitchener with this knowledge—and an eighth place standing in the pre-preliminary competition.
“He came home knowing what he has to do, the jumps he needs to medal,” said Penny McComb, Nelson’s coach this season. “It was a really good eye-opener.”
Prior to the provincial competition, Nelson attended the qualifier in Sault Ste. Marie and did a demonstration of his program since there were no other boys at his level to compete against.
The judges watched his performance and gave him some advice before his bye to the all-Ontarios.
Nelson has been on the ice in one form or another since he was three. He plays hockey and takes power skating with his older sister, Andrea, as well as figure skating.
“He got his figure skates when he was six,” said his mother, Dr. Lorena Jenks. “I was surprised actually. He started playing hockey and figure skating.
“It’s hard to say which he enjoys more.”
In figure skating, it’s the jumps and spins, said Nelson, while in hockey he likes scoring goals and going to tournaments.
His dad, Dr. John Nelson, said his son’s love affair with the ice got off to a rocky start. He remembers the first time Michael put on skates—when he laid down on the ice and refused to move.
Nelson said his interest in figure skating came from watching a competition on television when he was four or five years old.
Now he watches competitions featuring his favourite skaters, Canadian bronze medalist Jeff Buttle and Evgeni Plushenko, the current world champion.
One of the great things about going to Kitchener was having the chance to watch other skaters at his level, Nelson said. And he’s already looking forward to going back to the all-Ontarios next year.
“He’s a really good competitor, he had a really good skate,” said McComb. “I’m really proud of him.”
Nelson also enjoys school and is doing well in Grade 5 at Sixth Street. He speaks eloquently about his experiences and the hobbies that keep him busy, playing soccer in the spring, spring and summer skating sessions, playing basketball, or sledding in the backyard.
“He’s a pretty easy-going kid,” said Dr. Jenks, who likes to keep her kids active.
This past weekend, Nelson took centre stage in the Border Skating Club’s annual ice show, playing Prince Ali in the “Arabian Nights” segment—the only boy surrounded by a group of girls.