Lisa Makeeva was named an OUA all-star last season after winning a gold medal in the OUA championships free skate competition. The second-year food and nutrition student spoke with Melissa Wronzberg about the upcoming year.
What does it mean to you to skate at the MAC?
For me, skating at the MAC is significant not necessarily because of its hockey history, but because it’s a place we can finally call our home ice. Although I do enjoy watching hockey games, I don’t have any kind of background in it and I don’t cheer for a particular team. So for me, the building’s hockey legacy isn’t the most important thing. However, knowing that we are training in a facility that once housed elite athletes is a pretty inspiring thing.
Do you think the new rink gives the team an extra edge?
Definitely yes. The MAC brings more awareness to the sport and perhaps athletes will be more inclined to join the Ryerson Figure Skating Team. Already, the team has grown from 14 girls last year, to 23 in the current season and this is a great advantage for our synchro skating program and allows for a more competitive environment within the team. Having a facility right on campus is a very positive thing for us. It’s great to be training somewhere that is within walking distance from school. It’s more motivating to come to practice and also makes us feel more connected to Ryerson’s athletic community.
Most people aren’t used to seeing all-female pairs in figure skating, but its pretty standard in the OUA. How does that work?
It’s basically the same thing as regular male/female pairs, minus the lifts and throws that are done with a traditional pair. I think this concept was created by OUA skating due to the lack of male skaters at the varsity level. It’s funny because I may potentially be doing pairs with Katherine [Bilinsky] this year, something I’m nervous and excited for at the same time. It’s all about synchronization between two skaters, which will be particularly challenging since Katherine and I jump opposite ways.
What is the best thing that has happened to you (on or off the ice) as a result of skating?
[It] would have to be the opportunity of living and training in another country (Russia) and experiencing a different culture. It really helped me grow both as a skater and person, not to mention Saint Petersburg is a beautiful and historical city. I feel very lucky to have lived there (for almost three years) and met so many great people.
After winning OUA gold, what sort of pressure is there to replicate that success this season?
I would obviously like to repeat last year’s success and live up to the expectations, [but] I never think about winning gold going into a competition. [I] just focus on skating the best possible program that I’m capable of, [and] that tends to help relieve most of the pressure.