Hanging up skates for good: Rock the Rink set for Sunday

Captured during a performance on the Rock the Rink tour. Danielle Earl / Supplied

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A once-in-a-lifetime show is about to take to the ice this Sunday at Revolution Place with a host of world-class figure skaters lined up to perform.

Rebranding their “Thank You Canada” tour to “Rock the Rink,” Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir prepare to hang up their skates for good and are gearing up to go out with a bang.

“It’s an honour to share the stage with all of the phenomenal Special Olympics athletes who will be performing in Rock the Rink this year,” said Moir in an interview with Special Olympics Canada.

Skating alongside the duo will be Kaetlyn Osmond, Patrick Chan, Carolina Kostner, Elvis Stojko, Jeremy Abbot, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov.

Rock the Rink is also teaming up with Special Olympics Canada to bring a host of up-and-coming athletes into the limelight.

At each Canadian stop in the 31-city tour, a Special Olympics Canada (SOC) athlete will perform a solo. Calgary’s JorDen Tyson will be joining the ranks of skaters to perform for the Grande Prairie leg of the tour as she returns fresh from February’s Alberta Winter Games.

“It was one of those great surprises that fell into our lap,” said Special Olympics Alberta CEO John Byrne.

“Our athletes get to skate with some of the best figure skaters in the world as part of their event… and have that really great platform that Rock the Rink provides them.”

Now 26 years old, Tyson has been skating since she was 17 and has begun to dominate the Special Olympic circuit.

“More than anything else, I’m excited,” said Tyson of the Sunday show.

“Being able to perform at this level is really exciting but I’m also a little nervous.”

Byrne recognized Virtue and Moir as large supporters of Special Olympic athletes, noting that as the pair became more involved, they became encouraged to invite them to participate in the tour.

“It was pretty tough for us (to select our athletes) because obviously it’s one of those really great opportunities for our athletes, but also one of those things that happened really fast,” said Byrne.

Those who were selected to perform were taken from a pool of athletes who are actively training for upcoming national games.

For Tyson, the show will be her first time performing in front of a non-competition audience of this scale.

“Special Olympics is an organization that is incredibly close to our hearts,” said Virtue, speaking with SOC.

“We have no doubt that the Special Olympic athletes’ triumphs and exuberant performances during Rock the Rink will inspire crowds!”

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