Three-and-a-half decades after she last competed as a figure skater, Lorelei Murphy is about to head overseas to take part in the International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Murphy hadn’t planned on competing again until a woman she had worked with while coaching in Hong Kong encouraged her to enter the event in Germany, one of two global adult competitions put on by the International Skating Union. The woman wanted to thank Murphy for her coaching efforts and, to express her gratitude, she offered to sponsor Murphy’s trip.
“At first, I said ‘no way’ because it had been too long,” Murphy said, but the woman reminded her of something Murphy had told her – that you’re never too old, that you can always challenge yourself – and so Murphy changed her mind.
A Wedgeport resident and former head figure skating coach in Yarmouth, Murphy, 53, has done a lot of training in preparation for the adult competition.
“The local clubs have been really good at allowing me on the ice and the kids have been really supportive,” she said, “so I’ve done some training here, of course, in Yarmouth and also in Barrington.”
She’s found the biggest challenge about returning to competition after 35 years away from it is that it takes longer to recover from injuries. In preparation for Germany, she’s had tendinitis and an issue with her back, although she said she’s okay now and is looking forward to seeing what she can do.
“As a young person, I was never nervous about competing, but I think I might be this time because it’s been so long,” she said, “but the training’s going well and, like I say, everybody’s been really supportive.”
She has been working on a modified version of her old short program, saying it has been nice to revisit that routine. Her preparation has included several on-ice sessions per week, along with some off-ice work.
About 500 skaters from around the world – including 50 or so from Canada – are expected to take part in the German event, she said, and there will be plenty of different categories based on age, skill level and the like.
The participants will include one of Murphy’s figure skating heroes: former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Midori Ito of Japan.
Murphy says Skate Canada has done a good job of keeping the participants informed about what’s going on and arranging things for them.
“It seems to be a very well-organized event,” she said, “so I’m looking forward to it. Just to see other faces that will be there, some people I know, some people I’ll meet for the first time.”
Murphy says the extended ice time made possible by having better local facilities – unlike the days of the old Yarmouth arena, for example, when skating ended in March – has enabled her to put in the training for Germany.
“If we were back in the old rink, I wouldn’t be able to go,” she said.