Meet Evelyn Walsh
From triple twists to trigonometry, teenage pairs skater Evelyn Walsh is anything but average. This 2017 Canadian junior national champ is fiercely fearless and possesses wisdom far beyond her years and always keeps things in perspective, an invaluable skill that many people even twice her age struggle with. The 2018-2019 season has been a transformative one for her and partner Trennt Michaud, what with competing on the senior Grand Prix circuit for the first time, winning the silver medal at Nationals, and receiving coveted assignments to both Four Continents and Worlds. Read on for endless inspiration and motivation from this very special young lady!
Birthday: July 8th, 2001 (17 years old)
Born: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Hometown: Seaforth, Ontario, Canada
Currently: London, Ontario, Canada
Country Represented: Canada
Skating Club: London Competitive Skating Centre
'Training Location: Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Coach: Alison Purkiss
Boots: Edea Concerto
Blades: Jackson Matrix Freestyle
Evelyn and Trennt gliding across the ice (photo by Danielle Earl Photography)
Q: You had the best of both worlds, growing up in the idyllic small town of Seaforth, while still being in the major skating hub that is southern Ontario. What was your individual path with getting involved in the sport?
A: I was so fortunate to have grown up in a small town because I had the luxury of benefiting off of all those little perks. I began when I was two years old in my very first pair of hockey skates at the weekly parent-and-tot skate. I can remember being the only ones on the ice for over two hours while I raced around rapidly and being told we were welcome to stay on as long as we wanted. That’s when I believe my love for skating was truly ignited. I later discovered that investing in a pair of toepicks would give me the opportunity to jumps and twirl which just seemed like a no-brainer!
Q: You're fairly new to the discipline of pairs, as you hadn't competed with anyone prior to teaming up with Trennt Michaud in August 2016. Had you practiced pairs elements with anyone else, or was your first-ever triple twist with Trennt?
A: Every year, my skating club has an ice show to wrap up the season, so ever since I was young, I was always being thrown around by other pair guys such as Mike Marinaro, therefore, I was used to that feeling of being airborne and fell in love with it instantly. Although I just recently started competing in the pairs, the discipline wasn’t completely foreign to me but I will say, Trennt is still the first person I have ever done a triple twist with!
(From L to R) Evelyn with fellow pairs skaters Michael Marinaro and Kirsten Moore-Towers, Evelyn as a young singles skater, and Evelyn with THE Patrick Chan
Q: Pairs is a terrifying discipline, but I think it's most terrifying for the female partner! Were you scared when you first started doing the big throws and twists and lifts, and what's the secret to being so fearless?!
A: I think a big part of being so fearless is trust. Since the first day I met Trennt and watched him train with previous partners, he was always so stable and had such great respect for the girl and her safety. I felt that instantly when I started skating with him and knew that no matter what, I would be safe. That feeling is so comforting.
Q: How hard is it balancing high school with skating - do you do traditional school, online school, or a mixture of both? You seem so much more mature than the average 17-year-old!
A: I actually do a mixture of both. I have morning classes at a high school in Brantford that is right next to the rink, and I also have a few online classes, which provides me with that extra flexibility. I would be lying if I said it’s easy to balance education with skating, but with both of my parents being teachers, it has always been made a priority, which I am very grateful for. Sport can be so unpredictable with injuries and other variables, therefore having a Plan B is crucial.
The many faces and elements of Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud (photos by Minas Panagiotakis via ISU/Getty, Geoff Robins via AFP/Getty, Joosep Martinson via ISU/Getty, Atsushi Tomura via ISU/Getty)
Q: Tell us about your programs this season - I'm obsessed with your Come Together short program! What inspired your music choices, and is it hard to have high levels of artistry when you're performing programs with insanely high levels of technical difficulty?
A: I think I speak for both Trennt and me when I say that we LOVE our programs this year! There is such a contrast between our short and long, making them so much fun to train every day. As you said, our short is a Beatles piece that has been redone into an edgy, rock 'n' roll vibe. It’s a completely different direction for us - and a bit out of our comfort zone - but this year was all about pushing our boundaries and trying something different. Our long is Romeo & Juliet, which is a style we were more confident with. Trying to tell that young love story within four minutes which is nothing shy of a challenge .
Q: When you're home training in Brantford, Ontario, what does a typical day in your life look like? Walk us through it!
A: I will wake up around 6:45 AM to leave my house at 7:15 AM and arrive in Brantford for school at 8:30 AM. After school, around 11:00 AM, I walk over to the rink, where I meet Trennt and we begin to warm up. At 12:00 PM, we will either have a session with Paul Macintosh or our coach, Alison Purkiss. We have a singles session later in the day, where we also focus on death spirals, spins, and footwork. Depending on the day of the week, we will either have a workout session with our trainer or do a Pilates or yoga class. I am back in London around 6:00 PM for supper with my family, and then I finish up any homework and head straight to bed just to do it all over again the next day!
Evelyn with Trennt and her sister - and an adorable pug!
Q: Outside of skating, what are you most passionate about? And do you hope to go to university soon or is skating your sole focus right now?
A: Outside of skating, I enjoy incorporating some cross-training into my schedule. This includes Pilates, yoga, Zumba, running, and swimming. I do hope to go to pursue my education and attend university eventually, depending on where my skating career takes me.
Q: If you could give advice to a young girl just starting out in pairs, what would you tell her?
A: I think the best advice I could give to someone is to just go for it. You never know where something can take you until you try. I can truly say that five years ago, I would have never imagined being in this situation, but I am forever grateful, as the possibilities are endless.
Nothin' but blue skies in Oberstdorf, Germany
Q: After having an especially brutal training day or falling a lot on the ice, what keeps you going? What or who inspires you to get up and keep on keeping on?
A: The key for me has always been to keep things in perspective. Taking a step back to realize how fortunate I am to have these unreal opportunities to travel the world - all while being surrounded by the best people - is more than I could ever ask for. Those "brutal" training days are what makes those good days so special, and I’m so grateful to share that journey with Trennt.
Q: By this time next year, what goals do you hope to have accomplished, both skating and non-skating related?
A: Sport is such a tricky thing to predict because of so many external variables, but ultimately, I want to better myself as a person. I am surrounded by so many knowledgeable people every day, so taking advantage of that and growing not only as a skater but also as a person is important. Each competition, Trennt and I learn so much about each other and ourselves, and I think soaking up all these experiences is key to success in our future endeavours.
The Canadian Nationals podium - silver medalists Evelyn & Trennt with gold medalists Michael Marinaro & Kirsten-Moore Towers and bronze medalists Camille Ruest and Andrew Wolfe (photo by Skate Canada)
Element that was scariest to learn?
Death spirals (the scariness is even in the name!)
Favorite thing about being Canadian?
Wearing that maple leaf and hearing “representing Canada...” is something so special and irreplaceable
If you were a jump, which one would you be and why?
Toe-loop because they’re my favourite jump and just make so much sense!
Do you prefer to travel by plane or car?
Plane because it’s faster and I’m not the most patient
What are you proudest of?
The effort I put towards everything I do
Simply angelic (photo by Danielle Earl Photography)
What would your dream house look like?
On the water, with lots of windows overlooking nature
Favorite costume you've ever worn?
I think my long program dress this year because I’m obsessed with the purples!
What do you like to do on your day off?
Hang out with friends, play sports, or do absolutely nothing!!
Do you have any superstitions before you compete?
I always do this knee bending thing, and if my knees crack then I know it’s going to be a good skate. I know, it’s weird.
Quote to live by?
“Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa
These two make Canada proud! (Photos by Geoff Robins via AFP/Getty)
Keep Up With Evelyn
Team Facebook: Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud
All other photo courtesy of Evelyn Walsh