Competing for her country never gets old for Ponoka’s Maddison Pearman.
The 26-year-old long-track speed skater, who grew up skating for the Red Deer Central Lions Speed Skating Club, will hit the ice for Team Canada once again this December for a pair of International Skating Union (ISU) World Cups.
As part of a four-stop World Cup circuit, the first two will be in Europe this month before the final two at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on Dec. 9-11 and 16-18. Pearman will only compete in the third and fourth World Cups in Calgary because the national team can only send a certain amount of skaters.
“Doing it in front of a home crowd is always an incredible feeling to have and my friends and family don’t get to watch it as often so they’ll be able to see it in person… I know with going to the Olympics last year and gaining a bit more of a following you know so many people in central Alberta got really excited,” she said.
“Having the opportunity to skate for Canada at home and having all those people that watched me at the Olympics have the opportunity to come down to Calgary is awesome.”
She’s looking forward to having two weekends of back-to-back World Cup competitions which is new this year for Pearman who couldn’t recall it happening so far in her career.
It’s also ideal for the 24 Team Canada skaters who will race on those weekends as some of them call Calgary home. Pearman competed in her first World Cup event in February 2020 and has skated in multiple others since then however she still feels new to the senior World Cup circuit.
“Some people have been doing it for six, seven years so I’m still kind of a rookie at it but I’ve got a lot of experience from last year… It’s still nerve-wracking and exciting to learn more at these World Cups in how to prepare and skate well,” she said.
Pearman first competed on the international stage for the first time in the 2013 World Junior Championship but skated in her first senior international appearance at the 2020 Four Continents Championships. On top of many other massive events, they led to Pearman making her Olympic debut in Beijing in 2022 where she competed in the 1000 metre and 1500m.
This season she began training with Canada in May and the competitions began in September. So far she’s competed in time trials, which are practice races to get the feel for it; a fall classic in September, and World Cup trials in October.
“We haven’t had a lot of big competitions yet but now the World Cup season is starting so that’s when the real season starts,” she added. “It’s still early in the season but I’m looking forward to the rest of the race schedule.”