Jo Goch, community support worker
I once went to an ice-skating rink when I was seven years old for a friend’s birthday party.
I felt so free when I was skating on the ice, the cold air brushing across my face made me feel alive. I begged my mum to have lessons so I could be like Torvill and Dean.
The first lesson was to fall with your fists closed, so your fingers wouldn’t be sliced off by a passing skater. Good tip I thought.
For five years I learned the basics, which was skating and not ending up on your bum. Eventually I learnt the spins and jumps.
My coach encouraged me to join the local synchronized team. From the age of 12-15 I was with ‘The Silhouettes’.
We competed all over Victoria. It was fantastic; we travelled together and played games in the hotel rooms. We would laugh and cry and fight.
Then we got the opportunity to compete internationally representing Australia and the pressure became quite overwhelming.
Training four times a week and schooling left little time for being a ‘normal’ teenager.
The words “we need to be better to qualify for Canada” were frequently uttered and the process became a chore.
My journey ended when I couldn’t keep up with high school and the demands of being a competitive figure skater. I hung up my red flamed sequinned leotard and my blades, but always remember my skating days fondly.
Since then I have taken my own kids skating. I see the look on their little faces and am flooded with memories of my first moments on the ice.
They will be memories I will always treasure.