[Chapter 7] Walkin’ with Joaquin: Figure Skating and Resiliency Talk with Michelle Long

“I’m excited for this interview because I get to personally meet an athlete!” I told my guest to which she laughs. I question my shallow bursts of happiness sometimes.

I met this week’s guest through the Shapr app, the free app for professional networking. Shapr introduces the most relevant nearby professionals who share your interests! You might be wondering though – with the thousands of athletes in Canada, what was so special about her? I wanted to reach out to an athlete who practices a sport that I am unfamiliar with. I feel fortunate to have come across her profile and hear her story on how she has made a big impact not only in her sport but also in Canada, a haven for winter sports.

I am beyond excited to introduce to you my guest for today’s post, Michelle Long! I touched base on her figure skating career, the excitement and challenges that come with it, her favorite athletes, life after Figure Skating, the biggest advice she received, and many more.

Long was born, raised, and proudly Canadian. She put on her first pair of skates when she was 2 years old. At 12, she had a choice whether to pursue competitive dancing or compete in Figure Skating (to which she chose the latter). She trains at Richmond Training Center and competes in many parts of Canada and North America. “I’m all over the place!” Long says. She finally made it to her 1st National Championship when she was 22 years old. In a nutshell, it did take quite some time.

She has represented Canada at different levels – local, provincial, and national. “My base is in Richmond Hill, which I normally represent. I’ve also represented Ontario in some competitions. When I go to the United States (she had a competition in Salt Lake City in Utah), I’m proud to say that, yes, I’ve represented Canada,” she recalls.

“I lost a few points and missed a great ranking because of this!” she recalls while demonstrating a pose using her hands. Long admits that she gets quite emotional, especially when she started her career. “You just have to move on to the next competition. Dwelling on loss won’t make it any better,” said Long.

Book recommendation. “No Excuses” by Brian Tracy.
Favorite app. Instagram
Inspirations outside Figure Skating. Rosie McKellan (Canadian trampoline gymnast) and Kaillie Humphries (Canadian bobsledder).
Transferrable skills from sports to business. “Competitive edge, time management, and humility – these are 3 skills/values that would also work in a business environment.”
Career Highlight. Participating in her first 1st National Championship when she was 22 years old.

“You see the product, not the process,” Long said. She speaks on behalf of athletes and the hardest workers in the room.

Long talked about how her daily schedule looks like. “It depends on which time of the day you’re talking about,” she added. After this interview, she had to head home to get some rest in time for her alarm at 6 am. Usually, her training happens in the late morning. She considers breakfast as “super important” to her success. She also spends time in the gym doing “sports-specific training”. “It is difficult to build muscle with my training,” Long added.

Michelle recalls moments when she wanted to throw in the towel. “Oh, absolutely!” she agreed. “I’m fortunate to have a great support system – from my coach, family and friends.” Long also acknowledges the importance of proper coaching to her resiliency.

“I’m already preparing myself to the moment when I hang up my skates,” Long admits. She keep herself busy with commitments outside of Figure Skating – finally getting her undergraduate degree at York University, being a Figure Skating Bootcamp Instructor at FlexaFit, and exploring business opportunities outside her sport. “Figure Skating or any sport is not forever. You have to be prepared for what’s next”, Long said.

Before we ended our interview, I asked Michelle on the biggest advice she received. During times of stress and disappointment, her coach told her these simple words, “It’s just figure skating.” I like its simplicity. It keeps emotions in check especially when the work gets daunting. “Move on. It’s not the end of the world,” Long added.

On y va!

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