Meet Trennt Michaud
Fearless, kind, generous, caring, strong: these are a few words that come to mind when one thinks of Canadian pairs skater Trennt Michaud. In a discipline where there are few teams and fewer coaches, Trennt has become a great advocate for both pairs and figure skating as a whole. With top ten finishes at Nebelhorn Trophy, Skate America, Skate Canada, and Four Continents - not to mention gold at Skate Canada Challenge Skate and an impressive silver at Canadian Nationals, he and partner Evelyn Walsh are making great strides in their first senior season. Read on to learn more about how Trennt got to where he is - and how he got himself kicked out of Timbits hockey as a kid!
Age: August 22nd, 1996 (22 years old)
Born: Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Hometown: Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Currently: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Country Represented: Canada
Skating Club: Trenton FSC
Partner: Evelyn Walsh
Training Location: Wayne Gretzky Sports Center Arena in Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Coach: Alison Purkiss
Blades: Jackson Matrix
Q: I feel like an unofficial requirement of being a Canadian - especially an Ontarian - is spending your childhood on the ice in one way or another! I know you played Timbits hockey when you were younger, but what drew you to the CanSkate program and made you fall in love with figure skating specifically?
A: Haha so this is funny because I was kicked out of Timbits because I couldn't skate at all, and every time someone took the puck away from me I would throw my stick at them... So I was put in CanSkate originally to learn how to skate so I would be able to go back into hockey, but at the end-of-the-year show, I saw an older male skater figure skating and I really wanted to try it. And here I am today!
Q: You started out skating singles, as most skaters do, before moving to pairs. What is it about pairs that enticed you to switch disciplines?
A: My first coach back home had asked me if I wanted to do pairs, and at this time I was more into skating so I watched a lot of Youtube videos of past skaters. My favourite was Jamie Sale and David Pelletier's "Love Story" from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and I thought it was amazing. So that's really what got me into wanting to be a pairs skater.
A badass from day one - who gets kicked out of Timbits?! #LEGEND
Q: After skating with Judith Murtha-Anderson for one season and Hope McLean for two, you teamed up with Evelyn Walsh in August 2016. Since you partnered up at the beginning of the season, was it hard getting used to skating with each other AND getting your programs competition-ready in such a short amount of time, as you had two Junior Grand Prix assignments that year?
A: Yes and no. Evelyn and I had already been at the same skating school together for a few years now, so we had done some stroking exercises and jumps side by side before, as well as some basic pairs lifts during our ice show every year. And we were already good friends at that point so it was easy for us to work hard together to be ready for those assignments. Luckily our coach Alison Purkiss is also our choreographer, so getting programs done was a little bit easier because we had her there every day.
Q: You and Evelyn were Canadian junior national champions back in 2017, so it's evident you two work well together on the ice. What do you think makes you and Evelyn the perfect partners for each other? And what qualities do you think someone needs to succeed in the very difficult discipline of pairs?
A: Ev and I have a great friendship on and off the ice, and we have very similar work ethics. We push each other, and we support each other. I think the best quality to have is being able to laugh and motivate each other. Having someone there for you and vice versa is the biggest part.
Teamwork makes the dream work! (Center photo by London Free Press)
Q: When you first started pairs, were you scared at first? I imagine it has to be somewhat scary hurling a human being up into the air or lifting them above your head with one hand! You guys are superheroes, and I'm forever in awe. Physically and mentally, how do you do it?!
A: I wasn't scared at all! Just super excited. Honestly it's my favourite thing to do in the world, so I think that helps me mentally a lot! Physically, lots of off-ice lifting to start. And a strength and conditioning coach helped a lot. Now for me, it's a lot of hot yoga to make sure I stay flexible and mobile.
Q: This season you started competing internationally at the senior level, which is so exciting! What was your favorite memory so far this season, and what are you looking forward to about Worlds?
A: It's been a great season full of experiences, but I think the one that sticks out the most to me is Nationals. We were so happy with how we skated, and Nationals is one of our favourite competitions because the crowd and the atmosphere are always amazing. And we had our first standing ovation, which was pretty cool! When we found out we were second, I was so happy for Evelyn and I, but even more happy for our coach, Alison Purkiss. She puts so much work - on and off the ice - into every one of her students, and she deserves a medal too.
Right and left: Trennt and Evelyn on the podium at Challenge Skate and Canadian Nationals
Center: Trennt with their amazing coach Alison Purkiss
Q: You're dating fellow #TeamCanada skater, Kaetlyn Osmond, who is the 2018 World Champion in ladies' singles and is a true gem on and off the ice. What is it like dating a fellow skater, especially since you guys both have such hectic schedules?
A: Hectic is definitely how to describe it! But it's actually easier in a way, as we are both very understanding on how our schedules can be. We just have to make sure we're both on top of our schedules, which actually helps quite a bit in general haha.
Q: The world seems to have a shortage of pairs skaters, why do you think that is? And what do you think would make more young skaters interested in the discipline?
A: I think there's a few reasons that our discipline seems to have shortage right now, but I think that a big part of it is that you have to travel for coaches and partners. There aren't as many coaches willing to teach pairs - I know Skate Ontario is trying to help out with this by hosting more pairs seminars for skaters and coaches. I love being a pairs skater, so I hope more people join!
A Skate Ontario pairs camp - the first of many!
Q: For the few young pairs teams there are, it can be hard for them to find the right coaches or mentors, depending on their location, as you mentioned. Did you experience that as a young pairs skater?
A: I went through a very similar situation growing up. Luckily, my first coach contacted some other pairs coaches who she knew and had it set up to start seeing them once every two weeks or so - that was a great help for us until I moved to a training centre. Reaching out for help and motivation is a great start. I was also lucky enough to be in contact with Eric Radford and Dylan Moscovitch, who were great help. I hope I get to do the same thing for young athletes as well.
Q: What do you hope to have accomplished - on the ice and off - by 2022?
A: I still want to personally keep improving my flexibility to keep myself healthy and less injury-prone. And if we've learned anything this year, it's to trust the process and just stay focused on ourselves and our daily goals.
Wishing nothing but the best for these two wonderful human beings! (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis, ISU/Getty)
How often do people misspell your name?
200% of the time... I'm more surprised when people get it right haha
Favorite meal to cook?
Ouuu... that's a super tough one. I love to cook. And I love food. Tacos, pizza, burgers, shepherd's pie, lasagna, pasta... I can keep going on!
What kind of coffee do you drink?
All kinds! How can you not survive without coffee?
Element that was scariest to learn?
Never was really to scared of learning a new element - but I did get a black eye from an elbow on a triple twist once...
Easy as pie, right? (Photo by Joosep Martinson, ISU/Getty)
If you could be friends with any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
Does Ryan Reynolds count?! Because he's Deadpool. And awesome. And seriously how funny would that be?!
What would the title of your autobiography be?
Camouflage and Toepicks
Go-to workout song?
"Say Something" by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton
Quote to live by?
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Keep looking up, guys! Great things are coming for you. (Photo by Skate Canada)
KEEP UP WITH TRENNT
Team Facebook: Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud
All other photos courtesy of Trennt Michaud