Figure Skating

Cheer on our figure skating athletes as they shoot for gold in Austria in 2017.


Adelina Lopes

Adelina hails from Leamington, Ontario and has been figure skating with Special Olympics for 9-years. Special Olympics has allowed Adelina to become a better skater and meet a lot of new friends and interesting people. Attending her first World Games, Adelina is a little nervous but mostly excited for what’s in store. In her spare time she loves to swim, play other sports and do her homework.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To do my best.”

Alexander Pang

Involved in Special Olympics for the past 10-years, Alexander says his greatest accomplishment so far was winning a silver medal in 2013. Alexander says Special Olympics has changed his life because it has allowed him to find a community of support amongst his co-athletes. When he’s not practicing or participating in Special Olympics programs, Alexander loves to read and play video games.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To be supportive and be helpful for my team and other competitors.”

Alyssa Chapman

Alyssa, a 16-year veteran of Special Olympics will be embarking on her second World Games experience. In addition to her love of figure skating, Alyssa takes part in swimming, bowling, basketball and gymnastics. A resident of Murray Harbour, PEI, Alyssa is a classic east coaster and works on a lobster boat, throwing traps in the water. Her greatest accomplishments so far have been participating in Canada Games over the years and being a Special Olympics athlete. Special Olympics has changed her life by allowing her to express herself and meeting people just like her.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To finally land my loop!”

Benjamin Maeseele

Benjamin, a figure skating athlete from Calgary, Alberta says Special Olympics has allowed him to become more flexible. He is proud to be named to Team Canada and says it makes him feel like he’s on top of a mountain. When he’s not playing sports and participating in Special Olympics programs he is interested in art and being an artist.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To make my family and friends proud, thank you for supporting me.”

Darlene Jakubowski

Darlene has been to two previous World Games and is excited to be figure skating at her third. She credits Special Olympics with changing her life by giving her the opportunity to make new friends from different countries all over the world. She says World Games are “lots of fun” and she can’t wait. Her other hobbies and interests include crocheting.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Pass my gold dances and land a double Salchow by December.”

David Robertson

David has participated in Special Olympics programs for 18-years. In addition to figure skating, he participates in basketball, soccer, golf and softball. One of David’s greatest accomplishments so far is being named Athlete of the Year for Special Olympics Ontario. Special Olympics has allowed David to make lots of new friends. He is excited to attend the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games because it is giving him a chance to represent his country.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To bring home two gold medals.”

Emile Baz

Emile hails from Montreal, Quebec and has been involved with Special Olympics for 7-years. In addition to figure skating, Emile participates in swimming, basketball, soccer and floor hockey. Special Olympics has changed his life by allowing him to meet new friends and experience the joys of competition. Emile is a great skater and is excited to show the world his skills at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. In his spare time he also loves acting and comedy.

Goal for Austria 2017: “I wanna do my best and figure skating is my passion.”

Jack Fan

Jack Fan, a 10-year veteran of Special Olympics programs is excited to be going to his first World Games. He credits Special Olympics with allowing him to meet new people and to have lots of fun. One of his greatest accomplishments so far was winning a gold medal at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, BC. In his spare time, Jack loves to listen to classical music.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Have fun!”

JorDen Tyson

Jordan, with 3-years of Special Olympics programs under her belt, is thrilled with attending her first World Games. In her own words she says, “It means a lot to me, makes me feel strong and proud.” Special Olympics has changed her life by allowing her to become more focused, giving her goals and making her happy. When she’s not participating in Special Olympics programs, JorDen loves to watch movies, design things and shop!

Goal for Austria 2017: “To win a gold medal. Land a salcow.”

Kailey Stewart

Kailey has been participating in Special Olympics programs for 6 years. The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be her first time participating on the world stage. Kailey spent 16-years in a generic figure skating program before finding Special Olympics and she says since then, it Special Olympics has opened doors for her she didn’t realize existed. She loves giving back to the community and other skaters and credits Special Olympics with giving her social skills, and allowing her to meet her coach, who has changed her life.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To meet new friends!”

Katie Xu

Katie Xu, a figure-skater from Ottawa, Ontario, is thrilled with being named to Team Canada for the first time. Katie, an employee at the Ottawa Public Library, says she loves participating in Special Olympics programs because it allows her to meet new people. When she’s not figure skating, Katie loves to cook, dance and play music.

Goal for Austria 2017: “I want to work on jumps, spins, spirals, a donut, turns and have fun.”

Marc Theriault

Marc is a longtime veteran of World Games, having competed in both Winter and Summer World Games 7 times. His 21-year career in Special Olympics has seen him compete and participate in swimming, athletics, bowling, soccer, golf, powerlifting, curling and softball in addition to his figure skating career. Some of Marc’s great accomplishments so far are being a part of the soccer and softball teams that have one Team of the Year and being named athlete of year in 2009. Special Olympics has changed Marc’s life for the better. Marc says there is no greater feeling than representing his country.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Winning gold and helping the new comers.”

Michael Sumner

Michael Sumner hail from Whitehorse, Yukon and is excited to attend his second World Games, having previously attended in 2013 in South Korea. In addition to figure skating Michael plays basketball, bocce, soccer, golf, floor hockey and bowls. Special Olympics has encouraged Michael to be a more active person. In his downtime, Michael loves to fish.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Reach my personal best.”

Robert Fougere

Robert, has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 10- years and is excited to be figure skating at his first World Games. Robert is proud of his skating ability and to be named to Team Canada is a dream come true. Special Olympics has allowed Robert to make lots of new friends and travel to new places. In his free time, Robert enjoys to Latin and ballroom dance and play guitar and sing.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To meet new friends and do excellent.”

Rosemary Laidler

Rosemary has been a Special Olympics athlete for the past 21-years. She attended her first World Games in 2001. This figure skating athlete says the medals she’s won in athletics and figure skating are some of her most prized possessions. She says Special Olympics has helped her make new friends and allowed her to travel and experience different places. Going to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games is an incredible achievement for her.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To do my best!”

Sara McKelvie

Sara a 16-year veteran of Special Olympics hails from Cayuga, Ontario. Some of her greatest accomplishments so far have been winning a skating award at her school, her 50-plus medals and winning Female Athlete of the Year at her school. Special Olympics has allowed her to travel and see different cultures. Attending World Games makes Sara proud, and she’s excited to support her country in Austria as a figure skater.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Making new friends.”

Tijana McCarthy

For Tijana, attending her first World Games makes her immensely happy. Special Olympics has made her life better in many ways, allowing her to make new friends and become more social. She is excited to figure skate on the world stage and be a member of Team Canada. When she’s not participating in Special Olympics programs she loves to read and watch movies.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Make new friends.”

Tim Goodacre

Tim has been involved with Special Olympics for 15-years. One of Tim’s greatest accomplishments in his life so far was being named Special Olympics Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2013. Tim says Special Olympics has changed his life by allowing him to travel, meet new friends and experience different cultures. Attending the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be Tim’s third World Games experience. When he’s not figure skating, Tim loves to play the drums and guitar and enjoys playing on his play station 4.

Goal for Austria 2017: “1st place.”

Head Coach

Janet Collins

As a Skate Canada coach for 37 years and a coach with Special Olympics for 26 years, Janet comes with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. This will be Janet’s 5th World Winter Games as a member of Team Canada (2x as an associate coach and 3x as head coach). Janet feels she has come full circle as she attended the Games in Austria back in 1993 as a training coach watching her athlete place second! Seeing what athletes from around the world could do, Janet was inspired and determined that Canada would provide excellent training opportunities for their skaters. Her mandate, along with many others, has been to ensure athletes receive the proper training to gain the experience and opportunity of advancing and becoming World class skaters! Janet is very excited to share this experience with the excellent coaching & management team as well as the talented athletes who make up Team Canada!

Goals for Austria 2017:

  • To give the athletes and training coaches the proper tools to train well for the Games
  • At the Games - to make sure the athletes have the opportunity to perform to their  best         ability ( good practices, proper rest, positive reinforcement)
  • Give the Team Coaches technical and moral support
  • To make sure the figure skating team has a positive experience especially during Host Town - giving them the opportunity to explore the country and culture.

Female Coaches

Barb Prystai

Barb has been coaching skating for over 40 years at all levels (both in Saskatchewan and Alberta) and has been coaching Special Olympics skating for 19 years. She started volunteering with Special Olympics after she saw a notice in the paper. She has attended 4 National Games as Head Coach for figure skating, 4 Canada Games (with Special Olympics figure skating) but this will be her first World Games and she is really excited about being part of Team Canada! She was absolutely thrilled to receive the phone call letting her know she would be part of Team Canada 2017. This opportunity allows her to meet other coaches/athletes from around the globe and compare teaching methods and practices, as well as being another addition to her resume.

Goals for Austria 2017:

Going to Austria-meeting lots of new (and perhaps old) friends and seeing the different ways people coach and work with Special Olympians. Walking in to Opening ceremonies as part of Team Canada…WOW!!! need I say more? Celebrating all of the athletes’ accomplishments whether they are medals or goals reached. Perhaps having dialogues regarding the rules and ways we can help improve the International levels of skating-perhaps by introducing what we do in Canada??!! Having lots of laughs and celebrations with the amazing group of coaches I will be privileged to be with for the games-that being said also with the fantastic Mission staff and support groups. Finally-coming home to let all my friends and family know about Special Olympic Worlds-what they can do to keep on supporting the organization, and for some of them, how they can get involve

Elizabeth Roman

Elizabeth Roman became a volunteer coach with Special Olympics in 1997 when she started a new figure skating program in Surrey, British Columbia. Since that time she has attended 4 National Games, 2 Canada Games and 2 World Games. Over the years she has been involved in many projects to help advance and improve Special Olympics figure skating for the athletes. Elizabeth says “There is nothing more rewarding than helping athletes prepare and achieve in sport and in life. I look forward to being a proud Canadian at the World Games.”

Goal for Austria 2017: My Goals for Team Canada - To see Proud, Happy and Fulfilled athletes, coaches, families and teammates at the World Games. A few medals will be ok too!

Tracey Zwiers

Tracey Zwiers has been coaching figure skating for over 25 years in Orillia, Ontario.  She has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 10 years.  She has had athletes compete at the provincial, national and world levels of Special Olympics.  The 2017 World Games in Austria will be Tracey’s first trip to a World Games as a coach.  She is looking forward to the opening ceremonies, the enthusiasm of the athletes as they compete and the friendships that are made from coaches and athletes from around the world.  She truly loves being involved in Special Olympics, it has given her an opportunity to enhance her coaching skills by providing knowledge, guidance and support to athletes with intellectual disabilities.    Through the sport of figure skating she can encourage our athletes to live an active and healthy lifestyle, while challenging them to achieve their goals.

Goal for Austria 2017: My goal as a coach for the World games in Austria is to be a positive role model for our athletes.  To be patient, to listen and encourage our athletes to be the best they can be.  My goal is to be supportive to all our athletes, and to treat everyone with respect as we strive for great performances, and overall personal success.

Male Coaches

Mario Richard

Mario has been involved in Special Olympics since 1997 as a Figure Skating coach and now his passion for Special Olympics has brought him to be the Regional Director for his region for the past three years. Mario also coaches Golf, Track and Bocce along with running the youth program. Coaching Special Olympics is always something he looks forward to every week, to see the athletes learning and achieving new challenges is so awesome.

These will be Mario’s first World Games and he’s looking forward to have well prepared skaters and have the best Figure Skating team ever to compete at these World Games. Just to represent his great country is such an honor. He’s also looking forward to meeting people from other countries that share the Special Olympics passion.

Goal for Austria 2017: Our skaters are well prepared for the competition physically and mentally and have them at their peak best when we get to worlds. I would love for them to do their utmost and leave nothing but their best on the ice at the competition that is all we can ask of them. Represent our country well and if medals happen to be won, that will be icing on the cake :-)