This year, a student at Heritage Woods, Miku Makita, had the opportunity to compete in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, as part of Canada's entry into the ice dance competition. The following is an interview conducted by Kodiak Times with Miku, discussing her experience during the competition itself, and as well in the sport world as a young athlete.
1) What was your overall experience at the Youth Olympic Games?
Competing at the Youth Olympic Games was such an incredible experience. It was nothing like I’ve done before. We got to stay at an Olympic village that they made just for the athletes. It was super fun because we got to spend time with athletes from all over the world, and many different disciplines. The competition itself was very special as well. Having the stands full with an extremely supportive crowd, made the pressure of competing much more conceivable. Overall, I had such an amazing time, and the experience is one that I will never forget.
2) What did you like the most about the competition?
Being able to spend time with many different athletes was one thing I really liked. It’s not often that you get to talk to athletes from different sports, as you are always focused on the sport you are doing. Making new friends was great!
3) What did you think of Lausanne as a city? Did you get a chance to see a lot of it? What was your favourite place there?
Lausanne is a beautiful city. We had one free day, so we all went out into the city and got to see the old town. The European buildings are so cute and very different from the ones we see here in Canada. The mountains were beautiful in Switzerland as well. We got a chance to visit the Olympic museum, since it is located in Switzerland. That was super cool! The museum had all the medals and torches from previous Olympic Games.
4) How did the competition go for you?
For me, the event itself was bittersweet. As an athlete, I gained so much experience from being able to do a “practice” of a real Olympic Games. Although my partner and I were able to skate three decent programs, our skates weren’t perfect and therefore costed us a medal. Saying this, the experience we gained was much more important than the competition itself, so we are super happy and proud of what we were able to accomplish at the games.
5) As an athlete, how did you deal with issues you encountered during your competition?
As an athlete, I had no idea what I was going to experience going into competition. So for me, I didn’t feel any stress during the whole competition. I just wanted to have fun and take in the experience. So I don’t feel I encountered any issues, and I was able to have a good time!
6) What do you believe is the most important thing during competitions?
I believe that during competition the first and most important thing is to be focused on competing and doing your job. When you are at a huge event like this, it’s very easy to get side tracked and distracted. So, I always have to remember that I need to focus and get my job done. And of course, you need to have fun!
7) What suggestions would you have for other athletes your age?
Having a strong and smart goal is important. Make short term and long term goals. Some can be quite simply achievable, and others may feel that they will not happen for a long time. However, if you put your mind to it and you are passionate about what sport you are doing, I believe anything is possible!
8) Finally, how did the Youth Olympic Games influence your opinions/ideas about the sport world?
At the games, we didn’t get to go around and watch other sports, but we got to talk to a lot of different people from many different countries. I discovered many different sports that I had never heard of before, and there was even new events that were just starting up. One was called Ski-Mountaineering and it was the very first time it has been in an Olympic Games. Learning this made me excited to see what the future holds for the new Olympic Games coming up.
Interviewer: Soniya Tagirova-Sirotkina