Brockville & Area Sports Hall of Fame

Ice Capades lightning has struck twice at the Brockville (Ontario) and Area Sports Hall of Fame with 2 of our alumni being honored for their contribution in sports over the years. 

Gloria Lor Spoden was just inducted on June 13, 2024.  This is what the plaque read – Gloria Lor Spoden was born and raised in Brockville.  She started taking skating lessons with the Brockville Figure Skating Club.  At the age of 21, she applied for a position with the world famous Ice Capades.  In 1966 she earned a position with the group and went to Washington DC to be part of the ice show.  Two years later in 1968 she was the Line Captain for the Ice Capades which meant if any members of the line could not skate, she would replace them in a performance.  She was also responsible for teaching other skaters how to do their performances.  She left Ice Capades in 1971 and taught figure skating in California for a number of years.  She has organized two Ice Capades reunion in Las Vegas with 500 retired skaters attending.  She still skates and creates a monthly newsletter in Toronto for retired skaters. 

Susie Geneau (Sue Pyke) was inducted in the Brockville and Area Sports Hall of Fame on June 13, 2014. This is what the plaque read – Sue Pyke has enjoyed a love for figure skating since a very young age with the Brockville Figure Skating Club.  After a decorated amateur career, she began a two-year professional stint with the world famous Ice Capades in 1965 at the age of 18.  In the early 1970’s she began her coaching career at the Athens Figure Skating Club.  She went on to coach in Spencerville, Prescott and Brockville. With an energy and enthusiasm, teaching and working with young skaters in the community for 25 years.  Along with being a mother of three, she committed herself to helping hundreds of the area’s young skaters enjoy and improve in the sport she loved. 

I help others’: Former Olympian gets candid about her struggles

Figure-skater Elizabeth Manley, who’s now a life coach, sticks the landing in Simcoe County; ‘Collingwood stole my heart,’ she says

-May 21, 2023

Elizabeth Manley is a former Olympian and a life coach

Figure skating might have been her first love, but Collingwood is Elizabeth Manley’s most recent obsession.

This week, we spoke with Manley, 57, former Olympian and life coach.

Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?

A: We moved here in February.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born and raised in the Belleville/Trenton area. I’m an air force brat. We were on the base there.

My whole career was in Ottawa.

I lived in the U.S. for 18 years. After I went pro, I was doing a lot of tours and TV. It was easier for me because it all existed in the States.

I moved back here in 2005 because both my parents took ill.

Q: Can you tell me about your experience as a figure skater?

A: I started skating when I was two-and-a-half years old. I skated as an amateur until I won the Olympics silver medal in 1988. I went to the world championships a month later. Then I turned pro.

I was professional until I was 50.

Q: What was it about figure skating that spoke to you?

A: All three of my brothers were hockey players. My dad also was a hockey coach. I was kind of stuck at the rink every weekend. In those days, there wasn’t girls hockey. It was a bit of a competitive instinct from a young age that I wanted to be better than my brothers.

My mom put me into skating and I instantly fell in love with it. I did other sports like track, swimming and gymnastics, but it got to a point where my parents said I needed to pick one.

I always knew it was going to be figure skating.

Q: When you were awarded the silver medal in 1988, how did that feel?

A: Well, I went through a very serious depression when I was 16. It was sport related. I think representing the country when I was 16 — I was competing internationally when I was 14 — I quit skating and I sought help. Getting help and going to therapy made me able to realize there was a person in me and I wasn’t just a robotic athlete.

I got to a point with my skating where it became a job and pressure, instead of loving it.

Getting that help brought the love back not only for the sport, but for myself.

I’m a huge advocate for mental health. I’m a professional speaker now, and an executive life coach. I help others.

Q: What made you want to make the move to Collingwood?

A: I fell in love with it. My in-laws have a house here.

I had gone through some rough times. I lost my mother to ovarian cancer and my father to Alzheimer’s. During that, I lost my marriage.

A lot of things happened to me and I found myself in a position where I needed to reach deep and find myself.

I reconnected with my crush from when I was in my 20s. Now, we’re married. His parents own a house here, but they wanted to spend more time in Toronto with grandchildren and other family. So, we moved into their house to take care of it.

I couldn’t be happier. I’m in a place in my life where I just want peace, and I want to help people.

Collingwood stole my heart.

Q: How are you spending your time now?

A: Now that I’ve moved to Collingwood, I want to spread my wings. I work with organizations, speak with company leadership, and will talk about mental health in the workplace. I’d like to get my feet wet here and get the word out.

I am working with the Collingwood Figure Skating Club to help with the kids. I do skating, life coaching and motivational speaking about mental health. I’ve spoken at more than 200 schools across eastern Ontario.

We have such a crisis right now with teens due to the pandemic.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?

A: I want to be more involved with this community, and be out there for them.

Senior couple finds Canyon Lake incredibly hospitable

Carolyn (Anton) Bennett was an accomplished ice skater and worked with the “Ice Capades” when on Christmas Day of 1973 while she was eating Christmas dinner she received a phone call that would change her life. The caller asked Carolyn if she would like to audition to ice skate every week on national television.

https://fridayflyer.com/article/2023-03-03/senior-couple-finds-canyon-lake-incredibly-hospitable-helpful/