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Ottawa-born Olympic figure skater ends career after Sochi Adam Kveton
Sports - Italian figure skater and Ottawa native Paul Bonifacio Parkinson has decided to leave the world of international figure skating after competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The move comes after a less-than-stellar performance at the figure skater’s first Olympic competition, with several errors in his program. However, Bonifacio Parkinson said he achieved everything he set out to and is excited to return to Canada and pursue a degree at the University of Toronto. “For me it is very exciting as I’m really looking forward to taking the next step in my life,” he said. Bonifacio Parkinson was born in Canada and grew up in Barrhaven where his love of figure skating started. Living in Ottawa, Bonifacio Parkinson said he wanted to learn
to skate so he could skate on the canal. After excelling through CanSkate, Bonifacio Parkinson competed with the Nepean Skating Club, going to national championships at age 12. After he won silver at the Canadian juniors in 2009, he decided to compete for Italy as he holds dual citizenship through his mother’s side of the family. The idea was to get more international exposure, as the Italian team attends more European events. “When we first thought of it, we didn’t think I was necessarily ready for that stage, but after I medalled at the Canadian Championships in junior, we thought that was a good time to make the switch over knowing that I could handle that pressure at nationals,” he said. Though it was difficult to leave his friends and teammates, Bonifacio Parkinson said he still felt support from
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his hometown five years later at Sochi. Nonetheless, the pressure of competing at that level was something he wasn’t ready for, he said.
“I was just out there trying to enjoy every moment of it.” PAUL BONIFACIO PARKINSON
“Nothing can really prepare you for the pressure that you feel at the Olympics,” said Bonifacio Parkinson. The pressure showed in Bonifacio Parkinson’s skating, with several falls during competition. However, it was while competing in his second event at Sochi that he hit his stride. During the men’s free skate for the team competition, Bonifacio Parkinson topped his best score that season with a score of 121.23, earning him fifth place with Russian veteran Evgeny Plyushchenko in first with 168.20. “That performance I had the most fun,” said Bonifacio Parkinson. “I was just out there trying to enjoy every moment of it, and the feeling I had when I finished that long program was just, it’s indescribable.” Despite the errors, Bonifacio Parkinson said his Olympic experience was great, and that he “enjoyed every second that I was out there competing.” Nonetheless, after returning to his training base in Colorado to take a pause after
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE/SUBMITTED
Paul Bonifacio Parkinson competes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for Italy in early February. Sochi, Bonifacio Parkinson was considering his acceptance to the University of Toronto’s kinesiology program. Now, he said starting his degree at U of T is almost assured, as he is just waiting on student loans and some paperwork to be finalized. Though Bonifacio Parkinson said he is still planning on competing for the university’s varsity team, he leaves the world of international figure skating with very few regrets.
“I have achieved everything I set out to do when I started skating,” he said. Though the competition is over, he won’t be leaving behind his Olympic experience. The most memorable part for him was the end of every skate, he said. “Each time I competed, it was the amount of applause and support I got from the audience. I will never forget the feeling I had when I was done competing each time.”
Though he was skating for Italy, Bonifacio Parkinson said he still felt support from home. “Even though I’m not representing Canada, they are still supporting me as I am: as one of their own,” he said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that these people are going to be behind me, supporting me regardless of what happens in my future and that they are always going to be there to support me.”
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26 Kanata Kourier-Standard EMC - Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Kanata Kourier-Standard March 20, 2014