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Michael Marinaro visits home after whirlwind Olympics

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Tara Jeffrey

As soon as he returned from the Beijing Olympic Games last week, Sarnia’s Michael Marinaro headed straight to the rink — this time, though, in hockey skates.

“I came in to surprise my niece who is playing hockey,” said the Canadian figure skating champion, who arrived at the Moore Sports Complex just in time for seven-year-old Monroe Marinaro’s team practice, where he helped teach a few new skating skills to some lucky Jr. Flags players.

“She was pretty excited to see me,” said Marinaro, who had to dust off his old pond hockey skates. “And a couple of the kids knew who I was, so they were pretty pumped up.”

Marinaro, 30, spent the weekend in his hometown and was also celebrated at the Point Edward Arena, where he first laced up his figure skates as a youngster. The visit followed a whirlwind two weeks at the 2022 Olympics, where he and partner Kirsten Moore-Towers finished tenth in pairs’ figure skating, and fourth in the team event.

“It was a pretty special experience,” he said, noting it was much different than the 2018 games in Pyongchang, where he was joined by parents Albert and Bev, and brothers Rob and Joe.

But the upside of limited fans meant Marinaro and his fellow athletes were free to attend as many events as they wanted.

“I had a bunch of days off where I saw a lot of different sports, so it was a really cool experience.”

Marinaro and Moore-Towers, a St. Catharines native, were 13th after scoring 62.51 in the pairs’ short program. Their free skate earned them a score of 118.86, for a total of 181.37, bumping them up to 10th.

The Chinese pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong won gold on home ice, while Russian Olympic Committee skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took silver, and 2021 world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov took the bronze.

Now based in Oakville, Marinaro is gearing up for a two-month “Stars on Ice” cross-Canada tour along with his partner and an impressive lineup of skaters, beginning April 29 in Halifax.

In the meantime, he’ll soak up as much family time as he can — even if it means filling in as hockey coach.

“I am beyond happy to give back,” he said. “I spent so many hours in all of the arenas around here — I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am today without the support of the whole city.

“But especially the Point Edward Skating Club,” he added. “That’s where I took my first steps, that’s where I represented right up until last year when I moved to Oakville — so, over 20 years.”

Marinaro said he’s looking forward to embarking on a coaching career, as he bids farewell to his final competitive season.

“It’s time for me to hang it up,” he said, “and step onto the other side of the boards and help encourage some other skaters to get there.”

Michael Marinaro and pairs partner Kirsten Moore-Towers competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Photo courtesy, Danielle Earl/Skate Canada

 

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