Consistency earns skater Toller Cranston Award

By Don Fennell

Published 4:27 PDT, Thu April 1, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Wesley Chiu recognized for second straight year

In the early 1970s, Toller Cranston stood tall as one of the best male figure skaters on the planet.

He became the Canadian champion in 1971 and maintained his position atop the national podium through 1976, which he capped with an Olympic bronze medal.

Though he never won a world championship, he is remembered by many for having fashioned a new level of artistry on the ice.

While Wesley Chiu doesn’t consider himself to ever have been a strong artistic skater—“my strengths are on the technical side of skating,” he says—the Richmond skater’s consistency has earned him the Toller Cranston Award for the second straight year.

Presented by Skate Canada, the national award celebrates young skaters who display the same qualities as Cranston—courage, creativity, and expression.

Typically, these selections are made based on performances at the Canadian Novice and Junior Championships. But given the absence of either this year, the Canadian Olympic Foundation and Skate Canada underwent an in-depth selection process to choose individuals for the awards based on their recent performances and qualities.

“To receive this award really reflects the time and effort that my coaches and I have put into improving my artistry on the ice,” Chiu says.

Chiu mostly learned about Cranston a year ago, when the award he received included a portfolio of the legendary skater. It featured both a biography and some of his artwork.

“Receiving the award this time really motivates me to continue to work on my artistry and push my boundaries every day, as I am skating to a song about another painter this year,” Chiu says.

Keegan Murphy, director of skating programs at Connaught, says the club’s coaching teams make a point to develop musicality in its athletes—from the youngest of ages.

“Wesley continues to show a willingness to try new methods of movements while balancing the highest demands of technical progress,” Murphy says. “I believe Skate Canada recognizes Wesley's courage within both sides of our sport (technical/artistic). The honour of winning this award is a result of hours spent, each day, refining the skills of performance and interpretation.”

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