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Groves’ appearance in Fort St. John, her first since the early 90’s, came at the request of Fort St. John native and fellow competitive Team Canada speedskater, Jay Morrison, who requested she come to the Energetic City to help put on the development camp with him.

The Olympic speedskater agreed, saying it’s a fun way to give back to the sport.

She says a focus of the camp will be the importance of proper execution when skating around the oval.

“Speedskating is an extremely technical sport and I think what I can bring at least is years of experience learning proper technique and trying to instill in them what that proper technique is and getting them to work on that.”

The camp is divided into two separate age groups, but despite the age differences, Grove says it will be tough love, just like she experienced growing up and learning the sport.

“I came from a coach that was pretty demanding and had very high expectations. So I kind of think I’ll be adopting a bit of that attitude. You have to have the right kind of brain and attitude to be good at this sport and there is not a lot of room for bad technique. So that’s what I think I’ll be a stickler for.”

With high expectations for her students, she feels that young, developing athletes can benefit greatly from experiences like these.

“Some of my best memories as a kid growing up in Ottawa is when we had summer camps every year in Ontario. It’s a good way to get in touch with your teammates and your competitors and just train together and keep the sport going.”

The development of one’s sport is always important with athletes, and Groves says facilities like the Pomeroy Sport Centre help in furthering the sport of speedskating.

“It’s awesome! Speedskating is a pretty marginal sport in Canada in terms of facilities. So to have a facility like this here gives [athletes] more continuity and longer seasons to help develop and grow the sport hopefully.”

Groves admits coaching is a side of the sport she is fairly new at, but says the opportunity to pass on her knowledge is something she enjoys.

“It’s such a rare opportunity to connect with kids at that level…You kind of underestimate or you don’t even realize the impact you have on kids as an athlete.”

Groves brings quite an impressive resume with her to Fort St. John. She won silver medals in both the 1500 metre and Team Pursuit events at the 2006 Turin Olympics, as well as a Silver and Bronze medals in 2010 in Vancouver, for the 1500 metre and 3000 metre respectively, just to name a few of her accomplishments.

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