Charles heads west, succeeds in Calgary

The daughter of Joel and Dori Charles moved to Calgary to pursue her passion for speed skating at that city’s famous Olympic Oval. The 2019 Virden Collegiate Institute graduate also enrolled in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts.


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“This past season my goal was to move up in the junior Canadian national rankings and I accomplished that,” Charles said. “I had some personal best racing times throughout the season as well. I knew that this past season would be a challenging year moving away from home, starting university, and skating full-time, but everyone at the Calgary Olympic Oval really supported me with this transition and pushed me to do my best.”


This past winter Charles, a long track competitor, posted personal best times in the 1,500-metre and 3,000-metre events, her coach Justin Warsylewicz said. She placed 12th in the 3,0000m and 14th in the 1,500m at the Canadian Junior Championships in Calgary.


“Not only does Kennedy work extremely hard at achieving great results in skating, but she balances a tough school schedule at the University of Calgary,” Warsylewicz said. “With this demanding schedule, Kennedy shows a great amount of sacrifice and discipline to achieve her goals on and off the ice.”


In pursuit of all of her goals, Charles has the continued backing of her family.


“My family has always worked really hard and supported me throughout the years and for me to be able to move to Calgary and take the next steps in my sport is amazing and I am truly grateful for everything they have done and continue to do to support me,” she said.


After developing her talents with Brandon’s Westman Speed Skating Club and the provincial team, Charles said it made sense to move to Calgary to get the best coaching in the country. She enjoyed working with those elite coaches at the Oval and being able to train full-time in a sport specific facility.


“Kennedy is a great member of her skating team here at the Olympic Oval in Calgary,” Warsylewicz said. “She is an extremely hard worker and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve great results. Kennedy is also a quiet leader in the group and sets a great example for others to follow.”


Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an early end to Charles’ season. She has returned home to Virden and is working virtually with her trainers. Depending on what is allowed as provinces reopen, Charles is looking forward to being back at the Oval and studying at the U of C, in whatever format that may be.

© Virden Empire-Advance