Winter Games a lifetime experience for young Connaught skater

11-year-old David Li was a bronze medalist

The recent Canada Winter Games produced a lifetime of memories for David Li and it was far more than his podium finish.

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The Connaught Skating Club member wrapped up his outstanding season with a bronze medal in the Pre-Novice Men’s competition. That came after earlier winning silver at the 2019 Skate Canada Challenge. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the results and his potential on the ice — forgetting this an 11-year-old Grade 6 student at Whiteside Elementary School. 

The week-long trip to Red Deer marked the first time he had been away from his parents for an extended period.

“It was great experience and I learned a lot. Not just skating wise. Being on time for things, sleeping in a dorm with the rest of my team and the meals too. I think we at pasta almost every day,” smiled Li.

Although he had previously made the trek to Edmonton for Skate Challenge, the Winter Games felt much different as a multi-sport competition. He also had a day off between his short and long programs — something that is not typical in regular skating events.

“I was just a lot more nervous this time because it really felt like I was skating for my team and the province. The day off between skates was something new for me too. I got the opportunity to practice and also watch the Novice skaters (compete) as well.

“Overall, I was happy with how I did. Now I’m looking forward to moving up to Novice (next season). My plan is working to add (triple) jumps.”

Li performed his long program for the first time in Red Deer. A decision was made by his coaches to proceed with preparation for the next competitive season after Skate Challenge rather than put his development on hold for over two months waiting for the Winter Games.

Hi finished behind BC teammate Brandon Wong and the gold medal winner from Ontario — John Kim. 

The other adjustment for Li was having an additional four days in Red Deer after his competition was completed. He used the opportunity to take in some of the other sports.

“I watched a lot of squash. It’s kind of like badminton except with a ball and a wall,” he laughed.

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