Ottawa Olympian talks Influence, BeaverTails & Nostalgia
Even without knowing all the things he’s accomplished at just 23 years young, Paul Parkinson has the kind of presence that lights up a room.
And just before he bid farewell to his hometown once again to perform some of his routines on a cruise ship this summer, Browns Cleaners were lucky enough to clean two of Paul’s most important costume outfits that he actually wore on Olympic ice.
As a continuation of our blog last week, this week we sat down with this remarkable Sochi 2014 Olympic athlete to learn a bit more about where all that athletic drive comes from.
Can you remember the moment you knew you wanted to be a figure skater?
I remember after competing the CanSkate program and being entered into the beginner figure skating program, I really loved learning the little jumps we were taught and wanting to learn more of them and knowing that I wanted to be a competitive skater.
Who are your top sources of inspiration? In what ways do they inspire you?
My parents and my training partners have always been big influencers who have inspired me. They always helped me push through the tough days and aspire to be a better athlete than I thought I could become.
3. What is typically going through your mind when you’re skating?
When I am competing I have set keywords that I say to myself going into each movement so it allows my mind to stay present and stay focused on what I am doing.
- Aside from Sochi of course, what would you say was your most memorable/special skate of your career? What made it so special?
One of my most memorable skates was one of my qualifying skates for Sochi, at the national championships I skated the best free program I had ever skated in my life. I was 20 points away from the leader after the short program and then in the free program I won that segment by 20 pts and set the highest score I’ve ever achieved in my career.
- Tell me a few of your favourite things to do in Ottawa.
I definitely love the Rideau Canal, and the BeaverTails that come with it! I also enjoy spending time in the [Byward] Market with my friends whether it is day or night.
- If you had one piece of advice for youth in Ottawa chasing a dream like you did, what would it be?
Never give up after the hardships, they will make you stronger and you can learned from them in order to succeed next time.
- What do you usually look for in a skating outfit like the green or purple ones that Browns cleaned for you? Tell me about why they are so detailed and the fabric so intricate.
When I work with a costume designer, we share ideas about what we would like the costume to look like. For me there are important factors that help me look taller and have longer lines in the costume as well as I like having bright colours and patterns that grab peoples attention.
- Are you going to keep your outfits as nostalgia, now that you’ve retired from competitive skating?
Yes, especially the Olympic costumes. I’m sure my mom will hang them up with the rest of medals and keep a little of my room set out for all the memorabilia.
- Are there any words of thanks you’d like to send out to Mack McGregor (Owner of Browns Cleaners in Ottawa) and the Browns team for cleaning your outfits?
I really appreciate the work they did to make the most memorable outfits from my career look (and smell :P) brand new again so my family can have the memories for the rest of our lives.