McMaster students compete for Canada at World Figure Skating Championships

Image of Trennt Michaud standing beside his partner Lia Pereira they both have medals around their necks, and flowers in their hand, while holding the Canadian flag behind their backs.

First year Social Sciences student Trennt Michaud, seen here with his pairs skating partner Lia Pereira, will skate in the pairs competition at the World Figure Skating Championship next week. Second-year McMaster science student Madeline Schizas (not shown) is the only Canadian woman competing in her event.

McMaster students Madeline Schizas and Trennt Michaud will be competing for Team Canada at next week’s ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal.

Schizas and Michaud are among the 15 elite figure skaters from across the country selected by Skate Canada for the 2024 World Championships being held in Montreal from March 18-24. They will compete against nearly 200 athletes from 50 countries.

Schizas will be the sole Canadian competitor in the women’s field, while Michaud will skate in the pair competition with Lia Pereira.

Both Michaud and Schizas say they’re looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd. Canada last hosted the World Championships in 2013.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” says Michaud, a 27-year-old part-time Social Sciences student in his first year at McMaster.

“I’ve been part of the world team since 2019 so I’m really excited to do a worlds at home in Canada.”

Schizas, in her second year in the Faculty of Science at Mac, is equally excited. It’ll be a homecoming for her parents and a chance for them to cheer on their daughter from the seats at the Bell Centre.

“My mom and dad are originally from Montreal. I’m thrilled that they’ll get to see me skate in person at a world championship.”

Madeline Schizas smiles as she skates

More than 300 million people are expected to tune into the championships, but Michaud and Schizas aren’t feeling the pressure.

“I actually enjoy knowing that so many people will be watching,” says Schizas. “It gives me that little ‘push’ to put out my best performance.”

That extra push kicked in at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. With more than two billion people watching the games, Schizas delivered her personal best scores in both the team and free skate events during her Olympic debut.

The 21-year-old from Oakville has had a strong season, with a fourth-place finish at Skate Canada International and sixth at the ISU Four Continents Championships.

Michaud and Pereira finished second at the 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships, won silver at Skate America and gold at the Grand Prix de France in their first Grand Prix season together.

Michaud and Schizas say they’re grateful for the support and understanding from faculty members.

“I really appreciate how accommodating my professors have been in managing my time away from the classroom,” says Schizas.

Along with competing, training and a juggling a full course load, Schizas worked as a research assistant with professor Gita Ljubicic’s Straight Up North research group in the School of Earth, Environment & Society.

“I’ve really enjoyed supporting projects that have a real impact on communities.”

While faculty are in the loop, both athletes don’t go out of the way to tell their classmates.

“I think it’s kind of 50/50 that my classmates know,” says Schizas. “I don’t normally throw it into conversation. When I’m at school, I’m just a student just like everyone else.”

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