By Tim Kalinowski
Redcliff saw two local athletes add to its sporting legacy during last week’s Alberta Winter Games. Cassandra Forbes won a silver medal in the 13 and over figure skating competition at the Medicine Hat Arena and 14 year-old Ryder Petrick took gold in the snowboard bordercross event at Elkwater.
Both credited home field advantage as being a big contributor to their success at the Winter Games “Everything just felt normal because I have skated at the Arena lots of times. I felt really comfortable going out there. I felt strong,” said Forbes.
“I was pretty excited that all my family was out there and everything, and the crowd was out there from our hill cheering me on,” agreed Petrick.
Forbes said she felt excited going into the competition last Monday; maybe a little too excited.
“I was really excited,” confirmed Forbes. “I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t care about placing. But I am glad I did. I was laughing because I messed up at the start. I was going into my axel, and I popped it. I came out too early. And then I had a loop at the end; so I couldn’t finish that.”
After that initial hiccup Forbes was able to settle into her groove.
“I felt I had a chance to win when I came to my final stop,” remembered Forbes. “When I found out I won silver I was so excited!”
Petrick also fell prey to nerves during his initial trial race.
“I messed up on my very first run,” recalled Petrick. “And I was thinking this isn’t going to go well today. For the second run I really had to think about what I was going to do. I kept saying to myself I had to get out front. I gotta be first.”
Petrick was then able to bear down and focus on racing his race. He could feel the pressure building after each of his next three races as he continued to place well leading into the final heat.
“The day felt a little long and I was getting a little nervous,” admitted Petrick. “Everything was building up to that last race. In my other races I always like screwed up at the last. I was just going out there to try my hardest and have a clean run. I felt good in the last race and I knew I had a pretty good line. Not quite perfect, but pretty good.”
The result was a gold medal.
“It was a really good feeling to be on top of the podium,” said Petrick. “The guys beside me were still taller than me, but I was on top. This is like way bigger than anything else I have won. It’s still shocking that I actually won.”
Petrick only had to wait about half an hour for the podium ceremony to commence as his race came at the end of the day; for Forbes the six hour wait for her own moment of glory was worse than waiting for the competition to start in the first place. But, in the end, was more than worth the wait.
“It really sunk in then,” remembered Forbes. “People cheered. They took like a thousand pictures… It feels even better a few days later. It’s a big accomplishment and it makes me feel really good. I had a lot of family and friends that came to watch me skate, and get the medal; so that felt really good too.”