Meet Camille Ruest
Strength. Flexibility. Focus. Trust. These are the qualities that Canadian pairs skater Camille Ruest incorporates into her life both literally and metaphorically. Whether she's executing a difficult lasso lift on the ice, practicing acroyoga off the ice, recovering from an injury, or even just studying for a test at university, this Québécoise athlete keeps everything balanced. Alongside partner Andrew Wolfe, she is the 2019 Canadian national bronze medalist and is just beginning to make her mark in the sport of figure skating. Read on to learn about how Camille nurtures her passions outside of skating, why it's essential to give more than you expect to get in a partnership, and what representing Canada worldwide means to her.
Birthday: November 23rd, 1993 (25 years old)
Born: Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
Hometown: Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
Currently: St. Leonard, Quebec, Canada
Country Represented: Canada
Skating Club: CPA Rimouski
Partner: Andrew Wolfe
Training Location: St. Leonard, Quebec, Canada
Perfect partners! (Photo by Danielle Earl Photography)
Q: You're a Quebec girl through and through, born and raised in Rimouski and currently living and training in Montreal. How did you start skating, and what was it like growing up in such a skating-centric area?
A: I started skating before I was three - my mom was a coach at the time, plus I had two older cousins who were already taking figure skating lessons, so I took my first steps on the ice very early on. Figure skating is pretty popular where I come from, so all of my friends were skaters as well, and my whole world revolved around skating and its community. I remember in high school, when I switched schools to enter the program "sport-étude" (a government program that combines school and sports), half of the girls in my class were figure skaters.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to fully dedicate your life to skating? And do you feel like you missed out on any important childhood or teenage milestones because of all the time spent training and competing?
A: I chose skating as a priority when I was about 15-16 years old, which was the year I decided to leave home and move to the big city (Montreal really intimidated me at that time!) to train with Annie Barabé and her team. I would say that year changed everything because I knew at that point that I wanted to pursue something bigger and take on every opportunity that was offered to me. I never really felt like I was missing out on anything, probably because most of my friends - even the non-skating ones - were athletes. My schedule was very similar to theirs, and I guess it never felt like I was alone in this, both during my childhood and teenage years.
Always in skates from day one (Right photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty)
Q: What advice do you have for younger skaters about balancing life on and off the ice and not letting skating define who you are as a person?
A: I learned later pretty quickly how important BALANCE is to be a successful and healthy athlete (I got a tattoo about it last summer). My parents always made school a very important part of my life, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that. Having a life outside of skating, whether it’s school, work, hobbies, or another group of friends, helps to keep things in perspective and switch your focus from time to time. Skating shouldn’t define you, YOU should define your skating.
Q: After skating singles for many years, you switched to pairs when you were 15 and started competing with Marc-Antoine Laporte, then switched back to singles, then switched back to pairs and teamed up with Samuel Morais in 2014. What motivated you to change disciplines several times, and what is it that you love about pairs?
A: After trying pairs for the first time at 15, I truly discovered a passion for the discipline. When I moved to train with Annie, I was evolving as a singles skater. My team of coaches and I thought it would be an asset to pursue a singles career and improve my skating skills and jumps before going into the process of finding a new partner, but I always knew that pairs was my true dream. I’ve always sought teamwork in my individual sport, and I loved the collaborative feeling that existed between two partners. That and all the acrobatic stuff, of course.
A: There are a couple of different things that make us work well together - one of them being to each give 60% of our share for the team. I know it’s an odd concept, but roughly speaking, it’s about giving more than what you expect in return. Another is our larger outlook on life and the importance of balance in our daily lives, which helps to put things in perspective in the rough times but also in the good times. And to answer your second question… there’s an infinite list of things I admire about Drew. On the top of the list would be his humanity - this guy is the most authentic, honest, big-hearted human and is never afraid to make mistakes. He is not ashamed of who he is and pushes me continuously to stay true to myself in every area of my life.
Q: The 2017-18 season was super exciting for you guys because you competed at your first ISU Championships - Four Continents and a month later, Worlds! What were those two experiences like, and did you feel more like "legitimate contenders" after that?
A: I can definitely say that competing at these two competitions was a huge opportunity for the young team that we were at the time. It was indeed a very exciting time for us. Worlds was easily one of the proudest moments of my career! Competing at that level, on a world stage, representing Canada, had always been a dream of mine. I can’t say that I felt more like a "legitimate contender," but it left me craving for more, that’s for sure…
Lift, throw, twist, repeat!
(Left and center photos by Sergei Fadeichev, TASS/Getty,
right photo by Atsushi Tomura, ISU/Getty
Q: You attend Université de Montréal, correct? What are you studying, and is it a nice mental break from the rigors of skating?
A: Yes! I was studying biomedical sciences up until last September, but due to scheduling problems, I recently entered a certificate in Arts & Sciences, in which there’s a very large spectrum of specializations. I’m currently taking an Italian course, and I love it! It is indeed a nice break from the rink, and I love being able to focus on other stuff when I finish my training hours. I’ve always liked studying; I took a semester off last year, and it felt like a big mistake. Keeping a foot in school has always been important for me, not only to have a "plan B," but also to stay sane!
Q: I see from your Instagram that you love acroyoga, which is exactly what it sounds like! Can you tell us a little more about your passion for that?
A: I used to do "airplanes" with my friends in my late teenage years when we were bored (we made silly videos, posted them on YouTube, and thought we were hilarious). When I first partnered with Drew, we started doing those airplanes just as a fun way to warm up before our sessions. Then it kind of snowballed from there - we started following other acro people on Instagram and tried to reproduce their sequences. Now, we try to come up with more "flows" of our own, but we always find our inspiration on other acroyoga Insta accounts. We would love to take an acroyoga class one of these days... acro takes a lot of the same abilities as skating: strength, flexibility, focus, and trust. That’s why I love it! It has helped our skating in so many ways.
Figure skaters, acroyogis, or superhumans? You decide.
Q: You're currently recovering from a cervical sprain and knee surgery - sending all the well wishes your way, because that is not easy dealing with those injuries at the same time. What's it like for you being off the ice for a while, and how does getting injured affect your mental performance in skating?
A: The first couple weeks were not too hard, I’d say, because I couldn’t even move properly. But then… you get better, and you start asking yourself if you should be at the rink instead of at home, resting. Every athlete knows how hard it is to NOT do any kind of sport for so long; it’s a very contradictory feeling. My body says THANKS, but my mind feels guilty. It’s in those moments, though, that you realize how we take our health for granted when it’s not a problem. In a weird way, taking a step back makes me want to go further and makes me worry less about the meaningless issues that we could experience at skating and makes me focus more on my goals and the essential stuff.
Q: This season was a great one for you both, with two Grand Prix assignments, a top 8 finish at Four Continents, and a bronze medal at Nationals. Heading into next season, what is your plan for continuing to build on the successes of past years? And can you give us any details about your new programs?
A: Getting healthy would be the first step. We had some growing pains last year that were necessary for us to learn from, but this upcoming season, we plan on being sharp from the get-go. We can be more consistent in our performances and will be excited to prove that. We plan on keeping the long program from last season; we love that program and would like to see it performed to its worthiness. With our off-season being tied-up with injuries, it’ll allow us to get a better start on next season by just choreographing a new short program.
Spiraling into success at Skate Canada 2018
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis, ISU/Getty)
What is the scariest element to perform?
Triple twist (who had the idea to throw a girl horizontally, make her turn 3x, and catch her?!)
Biggest pet peeve?
Crumbs in my kitchen, crumbs on my floor, crumbs in my bed, crumbs...
If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be and why?
Vanilla bean with a hot caramel swirl because it tastes like vanilla, but sweeter, and the hot and cold make a nice contrast
Favorite way to spend a day off?
At the spa
Favorite part about being on Team Canada?
I take so much pride in representing Canada around the world - traveling abroad and meeting people from other cultures (who hold Canadians in such high regard) is really rewarding
Camille x #TeamCanada
What is on the top of your bucket list?
Learning how to play the drums
Last museum you visited?
A museum in the De Wallen district in Amsterdam
Any hidden talents?
Hopefully in the future, I can write "drumming" :)
If you could spend one day with anyone - living or dead - who would it be and why?
P!nk - I think she’s one of the most talented, inspiring artists I know, and I admire her strength and "I don’t care what you think of me" attitude
Quote to live by?
Life’s too short for matching socks ;)
Camille just hanging out - always with a smile on her face!
KEEP UP WITH CAMILLE
Team Website: ruestwolfe.wordpress.com
Check out #RuestWolfe on social media for more acroyoga fun - and be sure to keep your eye on these two in the 2019-20 season!
All other photos courtesy of Camille Ruest