In less than a year, Saskatoon’s Stacy Simpkins went from knowing the bare minimum about figure skating to becoming a super fan — all thanks to reading a Japanese anime.
Since last January, she immersed herself in ice dancing books, videos and trivia — just so she could be educated for her first competition, Skate Canada International, this weekend in Regina.
“You get to see those little moments between the skaters and their coaches — and the skaters and their fans — that you might be lucky to see on the social media feeds and on TV, but right here, it’s happening,” she said, beaming.
While she came out to support her favourite Canadian ice dancers, like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Simpkins explained she’s also there to cheer on their international opponents. She and her crew even went as far as bringing along 14 flags from around the globe — one for each country participating.
“I want them to remember a little bit of Canada when they go home. If they don’t place or if they don’t do as well as they thought, at least they had support,” Simpkins said, adding they’ve received waves from Turkish and Polish skaters so far.
Being a fan for about 10 months, Simpkins said the bond she felt with the Skate Canada competitors this weekend is enough to make her an enthusiast for life.
“It’s a connection. I think figure skating’s got that, where a lot of sports don’t. There’s a connection between the fans and the skaters,” she said.
With one skating event in the books, Simpkins said she plans to attend the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver next year, and then the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal in 2020.