By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator

Figure skaters Keith Lau and Julia Xiao skated to a gold medal finish – and a brand new Canadian record – in their pairs event earlier this week. 

“It feels very nice to break the record, we didn’t know right away. I knew I could do it, so I just trusted myself. My favourite part of the skate was landing the third double lutz, because it had been the element that was the hardest one all week,” said Julia.

With the pair’s first-place finish, their cumulative score of 105.53 is a new Canadian record for this event. In the short program, they scored 39.31 and in the free program, they scored 66.22.

Lau and Xiao have been training together for seven months. They came to the Games after winning provincials, and a silver medal finish at the 2023 Skate Canada Challenge. They speak confidently about their strengths and rely on each other to make jokes when things get tough. 

“Our strengths are twists and lifts, and a couple other strengths other than the elements, is our communication together. We like to have fun and joke around. It takes our minds off the thing that’s ahead of us, if we’re stressed out, we make jokes to keep our mind off things,” said Keith. 

To get the best possible results here in PEI, they knew they needed to work on the details. So they trained extra hard on the little things, like arm movements, steps, and side by side spins.

“For me, I was focused on throws, because I had more chances of landing them, and they were some of our worst elements,” said Julia.

She smiles as she talks about all her favourite things from her experience here at the Canada Games. Beyond training and performing – which brings her the most joy, she’s happy to have made some new friends. 

“I’ve got a friend named Myla, she helped me a lot during my time in the Winter Games, like when I was sad because my hair wasn’t well, she helped me fix it. And she’s been a really good friend.”

Now, with this experience, a new national record, and a gold medal, they’re happy to share their advice to younger skaters who have their sights on competing at the Games one day. 

“My advice if things don’t go well, is to clear your mind, don’t think about it, and move on, stay strong,” said Keith. 

“Normally when something happens I tell my mind everything is ok, but when I fall, there’s a second where I’m like “nooooo” and all the anger goes away,” added Julia. 

The pair is taking a short break after this week comes to an end, with a focus on moving up to the next level, novice, for upcoming competitions.