For ice skating coach Gillian Thompson, skaters getting back on the ice this week hasn’t come a minute too soon.
Her students have been so dedicated to their sport that they have been doing Zoom tuition throughout lockdown – but this week, after five months away, they were back on the ice.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to get back on the ice, after such a long time away it will just be a relief to see my students and get back to what we do best.
“During lockdown we have tried our best to make sure the students don’t lose their strength or flexibility by running sessions over zoom, but it just isn’t the same.”
The Linx Ice Arena in Aberdeen reopened on Monday and around 350 learn-to-skate participants are expected to hit the ice within the first week.
Sport Aberdeen will also be welcoming another new addition, bringing in a Zamboni, the vehicle will be used to clean and smooth the ice, creating ideal skating conditions.
Director of community leisure operations for Sport Aberdeen, David Selkirk said: “After a long period of closure, we are all looking forward to the reactivation of the Linx Ice Arena.
“We know that our local community of skaters are excited to get back and staff have been working extremely hard to ensure that we are safe, clean and ready to welcome everyone back.
“The purchase of the Zamboni underlines our commitment to invest into the facilities and offer a high-quality skating experience.”
“I see it as a form of escapism”
The ice rink had previously closed back in December in conjunction with national coronavirus guidelines.
But now, with indoor sports venues gradually reopening to the public, skaters will take to the high-quality and rejuvenated ice once more.
Mrs Thompson added: “I don’t know what its like not to skate, I remember doing it from as child going with my mum, dad and brother.
“I love to skate, there is no feeling like it, having tried other sports nothing really comes close and I see it as a form of escapism.
“Being able to express yourself on ice to music just feels like all your worries disappear”
The 37-year-old who has gone on to compete in a number of national events herself is now training the next generation of superstar skaters.
Several of whom have gone performed at the British Championships.
She added: “You’re never too old or too young to learn how to skate, my youngest student is 2-years-old.
“And, my mother who I won’t disclose the age of also comes down to learn some new skills.”
Producing elite athletes
With the further easing of restrictions, she hopes her students can get back to their winning ways even as competitions in the foreseeable future are kept to a minimum.
She added: “The kids need a focus, some need to get their motivation back as they have become lost, some have quit the sport and others have used the lockdown to improve their off ice skills and returned with the fire in their belly’s more determined than ever.
“Fingers crossed we manage to retain our beginner skaters who attend learn To skate courses with Sport Aberdeen.
“These pupils are the foundations we need to help figure skating continue to move forward in Aberdeen.
“We already have British Championship standard skaters training here, but in order to continue producing elite athletes, we need to continue to feed in from the bottom.”
This week we’ve been taking a look at some of the lesser known sports available in Aberdeen – with reporter Daniel Boal having a go.