COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down since the pandemic was declared by the WHO on March 11, 2020. All ice rinks/recreational facilities were closed a few days later and remained shuttered for many weeks. During this shutdown, Olympia club members remained strong and united in their support of each other. One of our board members organized a weekly online off ice workout to keep us strong both in body and spirit. Twice a month on Saturday night, club members got together on Zoom for some socializing and laughs. When the community began to open up again, Olympia members met outdoors to work out in person once a week.

Our head coach, Monika Bafia, resumed our off ice training program 3 days a week at the beginning of July. Meeting in Edworthy Park, our members practiced jumping and spinning on Mondays, strengthening, stretching and flexibility on Wednesdays, ending the week on Friday with dance training. Having those off ice training days prepared us physically for our return to the ice on August 7th. Adults are at a higher risk for injury if they do not remain physically active and strong, so our July dry-land training ensured that all members were in good physical condition to return to the ice.

For the month of August, Olympia offered skating sessions only on Fridays to ensure that our return to the ice was a safe one with all Skate Canada protocols in place. Our sessions were closed to non-members until we felt that all safety measures could be adhered to. Ice sessions had 10 or less members attending with health screening checks as well as sanitizing of the dressing rooms, ice area, boards, and music area. After our Friday ice sessions, dance training outdoors was offered followed by stretching with physical distancing in place. It has been a great way to start the summer weekends!

Coach Monika has not been skating on the ice with us to adhere to physical distancing rules. Skaters take lessons in small groups of 2 – 4 skaters at one end of the rink while the other skaters use the opposite end of the ice. Even though it is not mandatory to wear a mask when exercising, Olympia skaters all wear masks in order to protect everyone. With members caring for aging parents, raising children with disabilities, a number of members over the age of 50, and going to busy workplaces, we felt it was important to add this extra precaution to our safety protocols.

As we resume our ice sessions 3 days a week as of September 1st, Olympia Skating Club remains committed to ensuring the highest possible safety standards to protect everyone’s health and well-being. Our sessions remain at 12 skaters or less, music is handled only by coach Monika, and all members pitch in to sanitize the dressing rooms and public areas where skaters are. Off ice training is taking place outside with physical distancing while the weather still holds.

Olympia Skating Club is accepting new members this season. If you want to learn more about how to get started with our club, you can find information here. Our club continues to be a leader in excellence of high quality programming and training for adult figure skaters from beginner to advanced levels. We are more than just a club – we are like a family, taking care of our members and supporting each other’s goals and dreams. While this season will be a different one in the world of COVID-19, our club will still be a wonderful thing to be a part of.