She’s taken Canada by storm and now Kaiya Ruiter will show the world what she can do.
The figure skater, who won the Calgary Booster Club’s Bob Freeze Sport Grant in 2020, is fresh off a senior women’s national championship victory in front of her hometown boosters at WinSport in mid-January.
“That was one of the most special performances I’ve ever had in my life, and to be able to share that with my family and friends and everyone I love, is just surreal,” said Ruiter, who won gold with an overall score of 180.86.
“I just wanted to enjoy the moment. I love this program so much and I just wanted to share that with the audience.”
The 17-year-old is coming off a year that saw her post second-place finishes at the 2023 Autumn Classic International, the Skate Canada Challenge and the Canadian Tire National Championships, as well as 10th-place showings at the Skate Canada International in Vancouver and ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, which also took place at WinSport.
“It’s been a really great year. It’s been a year of firsts, which has been really cool,” Ruiter told Calgary Herald reporter Todd Saelhof.
“There’s been a lot of really great things … but what I’ve really enjoyed was starting competing on the senior circuit. That was a really cool experience getting to have that first grand prix. I really enjoyed that.”
Added Ruiter: “I always just go in with the mindset of just doing my very personal best and see where that takes me – what’s so cool about this sport is there’s always something new to work on. There’s always something you get better at, and there are so many things that I want to improve on.”
Up next for the Grade 12 student is competition in women’s singles at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in South Korea.
“I feel honoured and beyond excited to be named to Canada’s Youth Olympic Games Team,” Ruiter told Skate Canada.
“My dream, and what drives my training, is to represent Canada on the grandest stages in figure skating. With this opportunity, I get to compete on the same ice where my idol, Kaetlyn Osmond, won two Olympic medals. I am so proud, and I will do my best for myself, my family and Canada. Thank you to everyone who has supported me to make this dream come true.”
Scott Davis, Ruiter’s coach, said the YOG will prepare her for major events in the future.
“I personally want her to have an experience of a lifetime, where she’s in that Olympic venue with all the other athletes from the different sports and kind of soak in that atmosphere,” Davis told CTV News journalist Glenn Campbell.
“Hopefully in the future she can go to the Olympics coming up. It will be a great experience for her and I think just to have another perfect skate would be amazing.”
The YOG are the largest international multi-sport event for athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age. Figure skating events take place from Jan. 27th through Feb. 1st at the Gangneung Ice Arena.