'I like the challenges': Canadian athlete is ready to crush Red Bull Crashed Ice
Jacqueline Legere is second overall in women's standings for ice cross downhill skating, right behind American Amanda Trunzo.
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Seven years ago Jacqueline Legere traded hockey rinks for ice cross downhill tracks—and discovered that skating through twists and over bumps was a whole new ballgame.
"Just skating on anything other than flat surface was a really awkward feeling,” she recalls. “I remember trying to skate up this slight uphill and I just toepicked and fell," she said.
Now the Canadian athlete from St. George, ON, has a chance of winning a World Championship hat-trick at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event returning to Edmonton on Friday and Saturday.
Ice cross downhill, not for the faint of heart, is a emerging sport that involves skating on a frozen track that has steep jumps, sharp turns and narrow tracks.
Ever since Crashed Ice added a women’s category to the World Championships three years ago, Legere, 26, has been crushing the event. She won the World Championship title in 2017 and 2016.
The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship will see around 80 male and 30 female athletes from 20 countries hurtle through the 455-metre track starting at Jasper Avenue and going down to Louise McKinney Park.
There were female races before Red Bull started their series, which Legere participated in, but they only took place in North America.
A pro athlete now, the former hockey player says she enjoys the challenges that come with ice cross downhill skating.
“(The tracks) kind of make me nervous at first but when I try them, it’s like a game to figure out stuff,” she said. “I like the challenges.”
Currently second in overall standings, Legere has to not only win this event, but hopes USA athlete Amanda Trunzo doesn’t make it to the semi-finals in order to win her third consecutive world title.
Athletes will get a practice run on the track the day before the main event but they start training months in advance. Because of a lack of permanent tracks, Legere says athletes have to get creative with their training.
“I did a lot of inline skating at skate parks and skating treadmills because you can change the incline and the speed and it really helps with that,” she said. “And then just skating on ice and working out and staying in shape.”
She got into the sport after seeing an ad on YouTube that encouraged athletes to sign up. She was chosen from a lottery pick and ended up competing at the Toronto qualifier and later in Quebec in 2011.
She hasn't looked back since.
“The first time you are standing on the track, looking down because you haven’t tried the track before, it’s a really cool feeling to have. It’s like, I’m nervous but excited to try it,” she said.
Legere remembers coming to Edmonton in 2015 to a crowd of 70,000 Edmontonians.
“It was great. I obviously love the Canadian stops and having a Canadian crowd. I’m happy to be back here. I’m sure it will be even better this time,” she said.
Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships starts on Friday at 4 p.m. and continues on Saturday at the same time. Tickets are $5 on Friday and $8 on Saturday.