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.