Pyeongchang Winter Olympics spark increase in ice skating lesson enrolments in Perth

Award-winning figure skater Sofia O'Kane. .
Picture: Andrew Ritchie    d479994
Award-winning figure skater Sofia O'Kane. . Picture: Andrew Ritchie d479994

XTREME Ice Arena Mirrabooka has seen a 10 per cent increase in aspiring skaters following the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The Winter Olympics was held from February 9 to 25, while the Paralympics finishes on March 18.

In term one, the arena’s Aussie Skate program, the second biggest in Australia, catered for more than 200 skaters. The number was expected to increase to 250 skaters in term two.

Co-owner Marie Lowick said more coaches and lessons would be in place in term two after the arena turned down skaters in term one.

“I think the Olympics definitely has a huge part to play and not only that, (as have) movies like The Mighty Ducks and Frozen, anything to do with ice skating,” she said.

“Every four years there is an elevated increase because of the Olympics and when things come in between, that elevates interest as well.

“We have got another 60 new enrolees for term one and we have probably fielded something in the vicinity of 50-odd phone calls from people wanting to join Aussie Skate this term.”

Ms Lowick said the arena wanted to continue to increase the number of people taking part in ice sport around the country.

Figure and synchronised skater Kaylee Walton, who came second and first in an individual and pair event at the recent Les Latham competition, said she wanted to become an Olympian like Russian gold medallist Alina Zagitova.

“I have been skating for about a year; I had all my parties here when I was little,” she said.

Fellow figure skater Sofia O’Kane (11), of Hillarys, who came first in an individual event at the same competition, said she had been skating for about five years.

She said she was inspired by her mother who skates.

“I also want to be on Disney on Ice,” she said.

Sofia’s coach Judi Skillicorn said all her students watched the Winter Olympics and she received many phone calls from interested parents.