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My Nikkel's Worth column: A legend visits Weyburn

Review editor Greg Nikkel shared thoughts on the visit to Weyburn by figure skating legend Tessa Virtue.

WEYBURN – An Olympic legend visited in Weyburn last week, as Tessa Virtue was the guest speaker for a Young Fellows supper at the Curling Rink.

She is one of the most highly-decorated athletes of any sport from Canada in the Olympic Games, and she shared some of the background stories of her success with ice dance partner Scott Moir, from 2010 to the 2018 Games.

I’m always amazed when we have a nationally and internationally known personality visit us here in Weyburn, and see what a genuinely nice and even ordinary person they are.

I think it’s valuable for us to have that experience once in a while, because the persona built up in the public mind is often way bigger and beyond who they really are as persons.

We had a very famous Hollywood actor visit our city several years ago, because his grandfather happened to be Tommy Douglas. When the statue of Douglas was unveiled, his grandson, Kiefer Sutherland, was among those present for the ceremonies.

It’s an experience I will never forget, and I know many people in the community were also there to see him unveil the statue, and then later in the Legion Hall to speak at the ceremonies  held there. I was amazed at Sutherland’s endless patience with all of the fans who wanted to meet him and get his autograph, and he never turned anyone away, no matter how long the line was.

With Tessa Virtue, she didn’t have quite the long line, but in a room full of figure skaters there to hear her speak, many wanted to have the chance to meet and talk to her.

She clearly expected that and was accommodating for whatever the Young Fellows had set up for the evening. What I really liked was her personal stories, of the hours of preparation and practice and of the competitions themselves, and how all of those experiences impacted her.

Tessa spoke about the ups and downs (more ups than downs) and how they dealt with each situation as they came up over the year.

Some of the best advice she had for the girls and young women in the audience were near the end of her talk, when she told them, “Just know you have all the tools inside you. You have everything you need to succeed. You’re perfect exactly the way you are. Be you and be your unique self, that’s what the world needs.”