By Stuart Miller-Davis
National championship-bound Joshua Dore has figure skating in his blood.
The 17-year-old Gloucester Skating Club athlete started skating when he was five, following in the tracks of his grandfather David Dore. The elder Dore was the national gold medalist in figure skating in 1964 and after retiring from competition became a judge, a second phase of his career in the sport that saw him score international competitions including the 1984 Olympics. He eventually became the youngest president of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (now Skate Canada) and a vice-president of the International Skating Union. David Dore died in April 2016. He was 75 years old.
Joshua remembers his grandfather standing at the window in the heated lobby overlooking the ice at the Elizabeth Manley Figure Skating Arena watching him at almost every practice when he was growing up.
“If I ever had a question about anything, I could always go to him,” Joshua said. “Like not just about skating. Life or anything else on my mind.”
Darlene Joseph, the director of skating at the Gloucester Skating Club, talked about David’s influence when she sat down with the Ottawa Sportspage.
“He was a real icon for figure skating in Canada. He wanted his grandson to skate,” Joseph said. “They had a very special bond and he’d be very proud Joshua is going to his first national championship.”
For Joshua, it’s been a tough path to get to his first national competition.
“He’s had his ups and downs,” his mother Shannon Prevost said. “He’s had some pretty big injuries and he’s always fought through it. It’s super inspiring because he could’ve quit at any time.”
Prevost also talked about the challenges a young boy faces in figure skating.
“To be a boy in this sport, to continue to want to be a part of this sport is not always easy.
He was the only boy competing at his level at this club for a long time.”
Joshua competes in both singles and pairs with the Gloucester Skating Club, but it’s the pairs competition that he prefers.
“In competition it makes you less nervous because there’s another person going through the same thing with you in the same moment,” Joshua said. “When you don’t have a good practice and thoughts are running through your head, being able to hold their hand just calms you down.”
Joshua and his partner Lilly Napier compete in the pre-novice pairs division and came in 1st place at the 2020 Ontario Sectional Championships back on Nov. 7-10, which qualified them for the Skate Canada Challenge Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Edmonton. The pair placed 7th in the event that is the national championship for the division.
In his singles competition he finished in 5th place at the Ontario Sectional, and finished in 8th place in Edmonton. He will be skating at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championship in Mississauga from Jan 12-19.
“It’s a pretty big deal for me because I’ve never made it to anything this big before,” Joshua said about the event in January. “I think whatever way it goes for me I’ll be grateful to get the experience and be able to compete.”
Joshua said his eventual goal is to someday represent Canada internationally in the pairs’ competition.
At the upcoming national championships for singles skaters, he’ll be joined by four teammates from the Gloucester Skating Club. Each qualified based on their results at the Skate Canada Challenge. Jessica Lui finished in 10th place in novice women division, Hayley McGuire finished 18th in the same event, Emmanuelle Proft finished 11th in the junior women division and David Shteyngart finished 15th amongst novice men.
It’s the first time the club is sending five skaters to the national championship in 16 years. Looking up at the banners on the wall outside the arena, Joseph points out how special this is for the club.
“Going back to 2001 there’s usually one, sometimes two entries,” she said of skaters going to the national championships. “One time we got three. Sometimes there were none.”
Joseph said it’s great for the club to be sending so many athletes to Mississauga next month.
“That’s great because it’ll motivate and inspire another generation of skaters to attain that,” she said.