For more than half her life, 27 year old Jennifer Robinson has pursued a single goal. She has lived in Barrie, moving here from her native Windsor, to dedicate her every waking moment to becoming a
world class figure skater.
While other young women were giggling at the cosmetic counter, or trying on wobbly high heels, Jennifer was being fitted for yet another lovingly sewn costume, sleek and sparkly. While other young women were hoping for first dates, Jennifer was balancing homework with a gruelling practice schedule that often surpassed 35 hours a week.
She’s set her sights and focussed her energies on just one thing.
Last weekend, with tears in her eyes and love from a screaming crowd of Canadian fans, she held the hands of her two coaches, faced the television cameras and Brian Williams’ sympathetic face and told the world that it’s over. Competing at the World Figure Skating Championships in Germany, Jennifer performed what many consider her very best show, a mature, sophisticated effort of grace and beauty.
And while Jennifer’s home town may claim her as their own, she’s brought incredible credit to Barrie and the Mariposa Skating School as she gave her teenage and young adult years to a sport that can be as cruel as it is beautiful.
Look at her track record! Six times Canadian Champion at the Nationals, the most wins for one person since 1935. She has represented Barrie for 14 years, and at the Worlds this year was the fourth oldest athlete in competition. She took 14th place with her flawless skate last week, 9th last year and 9th two years ago. She took 7th place at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, and 8th at the Worlds that year.
In 1999, she was 18th at the Worlds, 7th in the Four Continents event and first at the Canadian Nationals. In 2000 she stood 8th at the Worlds, 6th at the Four Continents, 4th at Skate Canada, 5th at Trophee Latique, and First at the Canadian Nationals. She is our best!
Jennifer now joins an elite league of performers whose personalities equal their skill. She represents Canada as spectacularly as Elvis Stojko, Kurt Browning, Elizabeth Manley, Brian Orser… and back decades to include the skating icons who have been her idols.
This young woman is an idol for many young skaters now watching her with open adoration as she puts her body through its punishing schedule. She is watched. She is adored. And she is completely natural.
On top of this, Jennifer had volunteered tirelessly, loaned her name and her energy to raising money for countless charities in the community.
Jennifer… thank you for being exactly who you are, a remarkable human being with incredible focus, splendid ability to jump the highest. As you spring into a new phase of your life, everything you have worked to become will stay with you as part of your sinew.
Barrie, and Mariposa, and Doug & Michelle Leigh, and the figure skating world, has been blessed!
Thank you, Jennifer!