York student figures in to the skating championship

Right and below, left: Heather Geboers

Third-year Atkinson business administration student Heather Geboers has life all figured out – well, her off-campus life, anyway. She has figure skated her way to the top, gaining a gold medal – again – in December as senior ladies champion of Eastern Ontario in the BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Sectionals. She has won the title four years in a row.

“It felt great to win the sectional championships again,” said Geboers. “I felt fairly confident going into the competition. My main focus was to skate well.”

And now Geboers is in Edmonton, competing in the 2004 Canadian Championships Jan. 5 to 12, where she placed 16th last year. “My goal this year is to finish in the top 10 overall and have personal-best performances,” she said.

Geboers wasn’t born with a fascination for figure skating. Her father never skated at all and her mother had only a passing interest in it. In fact, her parents didn’t take their daughter skating until she was the ripe old age of seven. She began skating “because of the social side of it”. But once she started, she flourished, graduating from a small rink in the Durham region to the Canadian Ice Academy in Mississauga. where she practises regularly.

“I didn’t get into the competitive side until I had been skating for a few years, but once I started competing, I really enjoyed it. Since then, I have had the goal of making it to the Canadian Championships and being amongst the best in the country, ” said Geboers. She added, “My favourite skater is Kurt Browning, someone who has always inspired me.”

Currently, she is a Skate Canada professional coach at the Manvers Skating Club in Pontypool, Ont., and at the Bowmanville Figure Skating Club in Bowmanville, Ont. Now that she is 24, Geboers is thinking ahead to when she’ll no longer be competing, and says that continuing to coach at both clubs figures into her plans.

Meanwhile, she’ll carry on with her University work, some of which she does through correspondence and Internet courses, and with her daily figure-skating practices in Mississauga, all the while keeping her eye on the ice and her mind on her dreams of getting the gold.