Vancouver Sun

Co­quit­lam fig­ure skater ea­ger for de­but

- STEVE EWEN Sewen@post­ Twit­ Sports · Figure Skating · Ice Skating · Winter Sports · Pyeongchang County · South Korea · Colorado Springs · Colorado · Vancouver · Procter & Gamble · Sochi · Pyongyang · Coquitlam · Patrick Chan

Imag­ine go­ing out for din­ner and hav­ing a Cana­dian Olympian ap­proach your ta­ble and take your or­der.

“I’ve been wait­ress­ing for a while, just to make some ex­tra money,” fig­ure skater Larkyn Aust­man said re­cently, dis­cussing her part-time gig at the Co­quit­lam lo­ca­tion for the Joey Restau­rants group.

“Peo­ple start­ing to know who I am is very dif­fer­ent for me. I’ll be serv­ing and I’ll in­tro­duce my­self and my name is pretty unique and I’ve been get­ting lately a lot of ‘Do you fig­ure skate?’

“I’ve also been get­ting a lot of ‘Hey, shouldn’t you be train­ing?’ It’ll be 10:30 on a Satur­day night and peo­ple will say that. I get it. They’re just try­ing to be help­ful.”

It is part of what makes the 19-year-old Aust­man easy to cheer for at the Pyeongchan­g Olympics. She left for South Korea on Wed­nes­day.

She won the na­tional ju­nior women’s ti­tle at 14. A lit­tle over a year later, she went to Colorado Springs on her own to train un­der Christy Krall, a cel­e­brated Amer­i­can coach. She was liv­ing with a fam­ily, but tak­ing care of her own cook­ing and tak­ing school by cor­re­spon­dence. It ended up be­ing too much for her, and she quit skat­ing for a spell.

She even­tu­ally re­united with her old Co­quit­lam Skat­ing Club. She fin­ished sixth at the na­tion­als two years ago and fourth last year. Canada qual­i­fied for three spots in women’s skat­ing in Pyeongchan­g, and Aust­man placed third at the na­tion­als, held at UBC last month.

“I’ve been skat­ing re­ally well and I don’t have any pres­sure, be­cause it’s my first Olympics and I’m go­ing in as the third spot and no one re­ally ex­pected me to even be there,” Aust­man said.

“I want to do my best, but it’s not about beat­ing any par­tic­u­lar per­son. It’s just about skat­ing my best and see­ing where that puts me. I’ve never even skated at a world cham­pi­onships, so I don’t know where I sit com­pet­ing against these kinds of ladies.

“I can’t get caught up in ev­ery­thing else that’s hap­pen­ing. I need to keep my train­ing the same as I’ve been do­ing. It’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit tougher, be­cause we won’t have as much ice time while we are there. I need to get in the work that I need and then be done.”

A go­ing-away party was held in Aust­man’s hon­our on Mon­day night that at­tracted more than 250 sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing six of her teach­ers from her time at Ranch Park Ele­men­tary, as well a prin­ci­pal from her high school, Dr. Charles Best Sec­ondary.

Patrick Chan, 27, skated with the CSC com­peti­tors at their Poirier Sport and Leisure Com­plex digs in prepa­ra­tion for the na­tion­als and Aust­man said it was help­ful to watch the prac­tice habits of the 2014 Olympic sil­ver medal­list and three-time world cham­pion.

Aust­man had been a flower re­triever at the Van­cou­ver Olympics in 2010 and played an anony­mous as­pir­ing skater in a Proc­ter and Gam­ble “Thank You Mom” TV com­mer­cial tied to Sochi 2014.

What’s more, she’ll turn 20 on Feb. 22. The day be­fore, it’s the women’s short pro­gram in Pyeongchan­g. The day af­ter, it’s the long pro­gram.

 ?? JONATHAN HAY­WARD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS ?? Co­quit­lam’s Larkyn Aust­man is off to the Olympics af­ter fin­ish­ing third at na­tion­als last month.
JONATHAN HAY­WARD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS Co­quit­lam’s Larkyn Aust­man is off to the Olympics af­ter fin­ish­ing third at na­tion­als last month.

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