Faith Benko placed third at the Super Series BC/YK Championships, and took home the trophy for Second Overall. (Contributed)

Cloverdale figure skater Faith Benko on ‘persevering when things get tough’

13-year-old skater explains how to pick yourself off the ice and keep going after your goals

Cloverdale’s Faith Benko has just returned from Skate Canada Challenge 2018, a national competition organized by the oldest and largest figure skating organization in the world.

It wasn’t the first time the 13-year-old had flown to Montreal for a figure skating competition, but it was the first time she had competed in a national competition.

Faith, a pre-novice skater, won bronze at the Super Series BC/YK Championships in Parksville, B.C. in early November, qualifying her for the pre-novice program at Skate Canada Challenge in Pierrefonds, Que. from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.

Faith didn’t win a medal at the Challenge — she placed 27th overall — but she said she’s still “really pleased with [her] skate.”

“I did really good for my first time at Challenge,” she said. “It was my first time competing with all of Canada, and I’m really happy with how I did.”

She skated a short and a long program, and she explained the difference between the two is in the length of the program, the number of elements performed in a skate, and the mindset.

“My short program had one jump and two spins,” she explained. “My long program had six jumps and three spins.”

“For me, the long program is more difficult. But for some it could be the short,” she said, explaining that because there are less elements in a short program, there is more pressure to perform each jump and spin perfectly.

Faith first knew she wanted to figure skate when she was two years old. She’d attend her older brother’s hockey practices, but would insist on watching the figure skating practice on the neighbouring rink instead.

She began skating with the Cloverdale Skating Club shortly after, and at age seven she moved to moved to Champs International Skating Club of B.C., which practices out of Burnaby. She is there today, coached by Jill Harvey under the direction of Joanne McLeod.

Faith works hard — as all skaters must, if they wish to be competitive. Although the skating season typically lasts from April until January, Faith trains year round, both on the ice and off the ice. “I have one night of cardio a week, and two for ballet,” she explained.

Faith, a Grade 9 student, said that she could see why some might think it would be hard to balance school and skating. She admits it can be difficult sometimes, but she shrugs it off, saying, “I’m a pretty good student.”

Her hard work pays off. Her competitive skating over the past few years shows a skater improving in increments, and then in leaps and bounds. In videos of past performances, once can see Faith fall, pick herself off the ice and keep going. She always keeps going.

The most difficult part of the job, according to Faith, is “persevering when things get tough. Like when learning a new jump,” she said.

Faith spent a year and a half working on her double axel before she felt it was perfect. Although it takes some time to learn a new element, she said, “when I get it, I never miss it again.”

After all, she said, her “favourite part of competing is performing my solos and showing everybody what I’ve been working on,” she said.

One day, Faith wants to compete internationally for Canada.

But for now, she’s persevering, working on her triple loop and toe combination and preparing for next year’s season.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP investigate after girl says suspicious person followed her in Whalley

Young girl was walking in the 14400-block of 102nd avenue Wednesday morning

Surrey MLAs share stage with Sikh separatist slogan

Liberal MLAs declined to after seeing controversial banner

Canucks Autism Network ‘birthday festival’ to bring concerts, beer garden to Surrey

Single-day event in July will mark CAN’s 10th anniversary

RCMP seeks dash cam footage in Cloverdale hit and run

RCMP believe same Acura TL involved in two accidents within minutes of each other

‘Art of Dance’ show in Surrey marks International Dance Day

Annual event this Sunday at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre

VIDEO: Police Recovered Goods auction in Surrey includes 300-plus bikes, jewelry, more

Annual event to be held Saturday, April 28 at Able Auction’s Newton location

Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

UPDATE: 83-year-old convicted murderer back in custody

RCMP have captured Ralph Whitfield Morris who escaped from Mission Institution

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Municipal election loophole will be fixed, premier says

Union, corporate donations still allowed for slate party ‘operational’ needs

Cat found stuffed in box in Dumpster in northeastern B.C.

Still alive, cat was found near Dawson Creek restrained with zip ties, legs forced behind neck

Most Read