In this episode, Debbi Wilkes chats with Mike Slipchuk, 1992 Olympian & Canadian Champion, Skate Canada’s High Performance Director and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum member.
Edmonton native Michael Slipchuk has been involved in the development of skating champions for the past 20 years. He brought his considerable experience as a competitor and coach to the role of High Performance Director when he joined Skate Canada in 2007.
One of Slipchuk’s first priorities was to create a strong support network for Canadian skaters. He has assembled a team of physical therapists, sport psychologists, nutritional specialists, and strength and conditioning experts to provide their individual expertise to the elite level skaters. He has also re-ignited the strong Canadian team concept when groups of skaters assemble to represent the country at international events.
Since he began in this position, Canadian athletes have won 25 world medals and nine Olympic medals, including 10 world titles and three Olympic gold medals.
Slipchuk was Canadian men’s senior champion in 1992 and represented Canada at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games, where he placed ninth. He retired from competitive skating after the 1992 Olympics to focus on coaching young skaters. Certified as an NCCP (National Coaching Certificate Program) Level Four coach he trained skaters who competed at national and international levels while also leading coaching seminars across the country. He was named head coach at the Glencoe Club in Calgary, Alberta in 1995, a position he held until he joined Skate Canada.
An early proponent of figure skating’s revamped judging system, in 2004 Slipchuk began serving at Grand Prix events as an ISU (International Skating Union) Technical Specialist. In 2006 he was assigned to the first Olympic Winter Games where the system was used in Torino, Italy. That same year he was also on the technical panel for the women’s event at the ISU World Championships in Calgary. His final event as a Technical Specialist before joining Skate Canada was the 2007 ISU Junior World Championships (Men’s) in Oberstdorf, Germany.
The City of Edmonton honoured Slipchuk with the Salute to Excellence (1983), Award of Excellence (1992). He was inducted into the city’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2012, he was recognized by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, inducted as both an athlete and a builder.