A local figure skating athlete has been selected to be an Olympic torchbearer.
Morgan Jmaiff, a 14-year-old figure skating champion with Olympic aspirations, will be carrying the torch on January 25, in Penticton.
Jmaiff was chosen to carry the torch as part of an athletic team with her school in Okanagan Mission Secondary in Kelowna. At school, she participates in a special high-performance class of athletes. Her teacher submitted an application with a story and a video and the entire class won the honour of carrying the torch.
Jmaiff says that she was visiting Golden at the time when she heard the good news from her teacher.
“I had sent my teacher an email to find out whether there was any important news for the team. When I found out we had won, I was really excited, especially for my teacher because this has been a particular dream of his.”
Jmaiff’s class is composed of 20 athletes, including skiers, swimmers, gymnasts and figure skaters. They will be sharing the 300 meter stretch of the road, handing off the torch every 50 meters.
As part of the high-performance athletics class, Jmaiff spends half of her school day in training. She says that it is sometimes difficult to catch up on all her school work, but since she has been doing the program for a few years now she is used to it. She says her teachers are providing great support in helping her succeed in her studies.
Jmaiff has been figure skating for over 10 year, since she was just four years old. She trained in Golden with the figure skating club until she was in Grade 7. She took on some coaching duties during this period as well. In Grade 8, she moved to Kelowna to pursue her athletic career. She says she is now working with some of the best coaches in B.C.
Last year, Jmaiff won the Pre-Novice Ladies National Figure Skating Championship. This year she is set to compete in the National Junior Ladies Competition, which is composed of the top 18 skaters in Canada for her category. To qualify for the event she won the Western Challenge.
Jmaiff notes that she would one day like to compete in the Olympics herself.
“I’d like to go to the 2014 Olympics in Russia. It’s my ultimate goal really.”
Aside from skating, Jmaiff says she has an active interest in the arts. She enjoys photography, drawing and painting
Regarding the torch relay, Jmaiff says, “It’s crazy, I still don’t really believe it. As the time gets closer I get more excited. It’s only a few days away now.”