By Bryen Dunn
To say Gabrielle Daleman could skate circles around most people would be stating the obvious.
She is, after all, the gold medalist of the 2022 Skate Canada Challenge.
Gabrielle has lived her whole life in the town of Newmarket, and began skating at the age of four when her parents enrolled her in CanSkate. Since then, she has taken home medals from various competitions around the globe, including Team gold at the 2018 Olympics, bronze at the 2017 World Championships and silver that same year at the Four Continents Championships.
Experienceyorkregion.com had the opportunity to chat with Gabrielle about her career in sports, her life aspirations, and her advice to other aspiring athletes.
She discovered her love of figure skating at the age of eight, while watching Joannie Rochette compete at the 2006 Olympics. She recalls turning to her parents and saying, “I want to compete at the Olympics.”
From that point on she was determined to make her dream come true. The key to success, she said, is having a good coach.
“I started training three and a half hours a day,” Gabrielle said. “I started off ice training (conditioning and stretching). I started to set short and long term goals. The first year was really hard as we reworked all my jumps and worked on basic skating skills. When I was 10 things were starting to click, and I won The Ontario Winter Games that year for Juvenile Women.”
As she progressed she never lost sight of her Olympic goal.
“When I was 14 and came in second at my first Senior Nationals, I knew that I had a shot at the Olympics, and that this was going to be my career for the next 10 to 12 years,”she recalled.
By the time she was 16 she was starting to get asked to do some shows with other skaters like Kurt Browning and Joannie Rochette That’s when she realized that this could very well be a career.
A typical training day for Gabrielle means arriving at the rink around 10:15 am, warm-up for about 30 minutes, then hitting the ice from 11:00 to 11:50. She uses this time to work on her jumps and the different elements within the programs. There’s a short break to clean the ice, then she’s back on from 12:00 to 12:50, and most of the year she will do a third session from 1:00 to 1:50, before warming down and heading home to do visualization and other mental exercises. And lastly, she does strength training, conditioning, and power exercises, before finishing up with flexibility stretches.
Beyond her Olympic career, Gabrielle is an Instagram and Tik Tok influencer as well as a model.
“I have an agent from Dulcedo Management Company that handles my collaborations. I also have a clothing line coming out soon,” she revealed.
During her downtime, she enjoys listening to hip-hop, designing clothes, photography, and spending time with family and dogs.
So what advice does she have for aspiring athletes?
“Don’t be afraid to dream big. Work hard and your dreams can come true.”
As for the next stage of her figure skating career, she maintains a realistic attitude.
“At this point in my career, I am taking it one year at a time. Figure skating is a very physically demanding sport and it can take a toll on one’s body. So as long as I can still do it I will.
“I would still like to win Senior Nationals again and represent Canada on the world stage.”
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on adventure, ecotourism, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He contributes to several industry and consumer publications, and also has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews.
Main photo: Richmond Hill’s Gabrielle Daleman, centre, accepts the gold medal after winning the 2022 Skate Canada Challenge.
Photo row, top: Gabrielle Daleman on the ice and on the podium.
Photo row, bottom: Gabrielle Daleman is also a social media influencer.