Gian-Quen Isaacs is a 16-year-old South African Figure skater who is hoping to make her country proud.
At age 7, many girls dream of being a princess and tea parties, Gian-Quen Isaacs dreamed of being the next Gretzky (after watching my first ice hockey match) or Baryshnikov, never imagining she would fall in love with the ice.
She never skated before watching her first ice hockey match. To reach the Gretzky goal, it was advised that she joined a club to learn how to skate. Within two weeks of joining a club, the Head Coach, Dantin Broodryk, told her mom she has the potential to be a figure skater and linked her with her coach, Megan Allely-Painczyk. Her first lesson day arrived & she arrived in time to watch the seniors train, and she was awestruck. She wanted to do what they did. She attended her first figure skating competition, and she was dazzled with the costumes, makeup, whole competition fee, and silence before a skater skated their program. She wanted to be there, performing, telling a story on ice, executing elements with such precision to show she’s earned her spot on that ice. The moment she fell in love with everything figure skating, she promised herself she will reach her dreams & hockey became a blip of the past. Then the training began. Before school, rush to school utilizing public transport, then back to make it in time for afternoon lessons. She was determined to compete, and a year later, due to sheer determination, she was competing.
Gian-Quen said her journey was not easy or a fairytale. There were no princes to save the damsel in distress or knights in shining armour. There was her, fighting to prove that she earned the right to be here. There were good days and bad days and “I cannot days”. There were good practices and competitions, and there were soul-destroying moments, too many adversities to count, but her need to succeed far outweighed her fear of failure. It took blood, sweat, tears and prayers to be who she is today. Recently, Central Gauteng Coach, Dino Quatro, told her: “Don’t ignore the bad days, be it practice or competitions. They had a significant role to play in the athlete you are today “, and that hit home.
She was afforded opportunities to train amongst the best in the World at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club in Canada during her career so far. She is aiming to make our country proud by being the next athlete to qualify for the Olympics. Although COVID has made this a tad tricky training and meeting specific goals at a particular time, she is still training hard and fighting to meet all goals set out. She has the following message to the Olympic Athletes “Never let the fear of failure keep you from doing your best; if you’ve done your best, you’ve won”.
In December 2019, Gian-Quen was awarded the Olympic Solidarity Scholarships from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Gian-Quen hopes to Qualify for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.