Golden Skate

McCaustlin and Davies a Close Second in Canadian Junior Pairs

The Canadian junior pairs team of Lindsay McCaustlin and Christopher Davies just missed winning the gold medal at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Saskatoon last winter.

The Canadian junior pairs team of Lindsay McCaustlin and Christopher Davies just missed winning the gold medal at the Canadian Nationals in Saskatoon last winter, losing to gold medalists Jessica Dube and Samuel Tetrault on a 5-4 split in the free skate. But they took home the silver medal in their last season as juniors. Previously the couple had finished sixth at Canadian in juniors in 2002 and third in novice in 2001. They also finished fifth in three ISU Junior Grand Prixs in 2001 and 2002.

Both of the skaters like lifts the most. “I love to fly,” McCaustlin said. They find throw triples the hardest moves. McCaustlin and Davies used double Axels for their side-by-side jumps in the short and double Axels/hop/double toes and triple toes in the long last season. Since they will be competing as seniors at Canadians in 2004, they plan to replace the double Axels with side-by-side triples in the short and long.

Eventually, they hope to compete at the 2006 Olympics in Italy, and then possibly skate professionally if the opportunity comes around. But for the coming season, their main goals are to master the throw triples and perform well at Canadians. Both skaters plan to be involved in skating after their competitive careers. Davies already coaches skating and does some dance partnering, and McCaustlin plans to coach.

McCaustlin started skating when she was a little over a year old. “I had the little double blades from Canadian Tire that you strap to your boots,” she said. She began taking lessons at seven, three years earlier than Davies who began when he was ten. Davies, who actually started skating when he was three, said he got into figure skating “because I wasn’t good at hockey.” No one else in his family skates, but McCaustlin’s father played hockey in the Faustina league in Toronto.

McCaustlin has some success in singles, winning the gold medal at the Arctic Winter Games when she landed her first triple salchow. This May, she finished fifth in juniors at the Ice Palace Competition. She began skating pairs when she was 13, while Davies began at 16. They have been skating together since April 2000. “We met at a mix and match after Canadians in 2000,” McCaustlin stated. “Barbara Underhill encouraged us to pair up.”

The duo trains at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Alberta. David Howe and Jan Ullmark have coached the pair for the three years that they have been skating together. They work on ice for 3-5 hours a day, five days a week plus three hours off ice. They also take ballet classes. McCaustlin has taken classes since she was three and competed in single and group competitions. Davies said he has taken ballet since he was 14, but only for skating. “Since pairing up we have been doing ballet classes, pas de deux,” he said. “We were working on competing in pas de deux but the schedules conflicted to much.”

Mitch Millar does the couple’s choreography after the music is selected in a group decision-making process with input from family, friends, and coaches. Last season, the skaters used Pearl Harbor for the short and Hunters Prelude, Love Remembered, and Vampire Hunters from the “Dracula” soundtrack for the long. This coming season, they will be using Celtic Drums for the short and Gone With the Wind for the long. The skaters choreograph their own show programs, which included “Grease” last season.  Although McCaustlin likes to skate to anything, Davies said he likes “something upbeat, something with a story line.” She listens to all kinds of music, while he prefers rock, listing The Watchman and Everclear as favorite artists.

McCaustlin enjoys crafts, designing dresses, and sewing. She collects Swarovski crystals. Davies likes mountaineering, cycling, playing the piano, and painting. He likes to read adventure novels and watch all kinds of movies, especially comedies. McCaustlin prefers scary books and movies. Both use a computer but only for school and email. The skaters like to travel, with Davies listing his favorite trip as a month-long visit to Peru and McCaustlin citing her first trip to the Junior Grand Prix in Milan. “I’d like to go anywhere where there’s no snow,” McCaustlin said. “Everywhere you go for skating there is snow.” Davies prefers “anywhere where there’s mountains.”

Both of the skaters enjoy athletics outside of skating, including rollerblading. Davies enjoys cycling, while McCaustlin, a junior at Ross Shepherd High School, is on the cheerleading team. “We are the Alberta Provincial champions and have competed at U. S. Nationals,” she said. Davies competed in the 800 and 1500 meters for Innisfail High School, from which he graduated with honors in 2000. He is starting university studies for a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education leading to a job in physiotherapy. McCaustlin also plans to take pre-medicine courses at the University of Alberta and eventually become a neonatologist.

In addition to coaching, Davies also works as a chef to help pay skating expenses. “I started working as a chef about three years ago,” he said. “I was offered a job by the manager of a kitchen who happened to come into the store where I was working at the time. He offered on the job training, so I took the position. I have always been interested in cooking, and this has been a great opportunity for me.”

They also enjoy participating in charity events. “We skated at the Battle of the Badges hockey game raising money for underprivileged children,” McCaustlin said, “and we attended a breakfast to help raise money for the Special Olympics. I’d love to be a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and help raise money to help children with muscle diseases.” She recently attended a fundraising lunch for P.A.R.D.S (Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society), which raises funds for disabled children and adults to enjoy the sport of horse back riding, in her hometown of Grande Prairie, Alberta.