Ridge Meadows Racer Janie Green’s accomplishments on the short track circuit this year should surprise no one.
The 11-year-old’s mother and coach is none other than Eden Donatelli-Green, who raced short track in the Olympics in 1988 and 1992, and won silver and bronze medals in that first games. Her father is Julian Green, who competed in the 1988 Olympics as a long track skater and was a Team Canada coach in 1992.
But any genetic predisposition to skating fast doesn’t diminish the considerable accomplishments of an 11-year-old girl in her first season of high-level competition.
Short track holds its first provincials for kids aged 11, and at the B.C. championships in Mission earlier this month Janie won, and qualified for the CanadaWest Short Track Speedskating Championships, which were held in Canmore, Alta. last weekend.
There she won silver overall, after placing second in the 200m and 400m sprints, and winning bronzes in the 3,000m and 1,500m races.
“We were hopeful, but she’s never been up against that level of competition,” said Donatelli-Green.
She was most impressed with Janie’s 1,500 m race,, which saw eight girls doing 15 laps, jockeying for position.
“You really have to be in the right place at the right time,” said the coach . “When another girl goes, you have to go with her.”
She said Janie showed great racing instincts in a “brilliant race,” where she skated well enough to be silver, but the position of her rivals at the line left her with bronze. Right at the finish line, she had to get around a skater she had lapped.
“I was really proud of how she skated in that race.”
Her mother also had her best results in the sprinting events. The longer events demand endurance but also mental discipline – the 3,000m event takes more than six leg-burning minutes, with other racers pushing the pace.
“She’s strong, and she doesn’t give up,” said Donatelli-Green. “And she’s a good learner – she’s focussed.”
Although she has been in and around short track races her whole life, Donatelli-Green admits it was a bit different watching Janie compete on a big stage.
“I was way more nervous than normal – it was a little different,” she said.
The coach said she wants all of her skaters to do well.
“But I don’t have to drive home with all of them.”
Janie finished second overall behind Hee Won Son of Alberta.
Teammate Shivani Bahadur put in a couple of strong personal skates in the 12-year-old competition at her first-ever CanadaWest. Bahadur took first place in her 400m semi-final with a time of 48.4 and skated hard to finish eighth in a tough 1,500m event.
The two girls started skating together at the age of five, and have been motivated by their success this year.
Their coach said they will one day have a chance to join the likes of fellow Racer Michelle MacKay, who is living and training in Montreal, and knocking on the door to the Canadian team.
“It’s all in how hard you want to work.”