He started skating short track in the Nelson Civic Centre and after 12 years of hard work and training he’s become one of the top long track speed skaters in the country.
“This is my big year to just try and make world cups,” said Scott Bickerton, a Nelsonite speed skating in Calgary.
At a recent Canadian National race, Bickerton was awarded bronze in the 5,000 metre race and silver in the 10,000 metre.
“I’m extremely pleased because the top-three in the 5,000 metre and the 10,000 metre get to skate in world cups.”
The world cup circuit gathers the best speed skaters on the planet who are all vying for top the top spot.
“This is my first year making world cups races and they’re a pretty big deal in the racing scene — at least in our speed skating world — and they’re a lot of fun to go to,” said Bickerton.
“This is just the next step on the ladder towards 2014 [Olympics] for me and it means I’ll get to hopefully work towards getting on the national team consistently from here on into the Olympics and I look forward to that.”
Bickerton was born and raised in Nelson, but after realizing he could further his speed skating career, moved to Calgary in the fall of his Grade 12 school year to pursue his goal.
“Calgary is a real mecca for winter amateur sports, they hosted the 1988 Olympics here so of course there’s many facilities that are still here… [we have] the only indoor oval, so if you’re a speed skater this is where you come,” he said.
Bickerton said without the coaching and mentoring of Bob Boucher, a former speed skating and track cycling Olympian and Nelson resident, he wouldn’t have achieved what he has today.
“He’s the one that helped me get to where I am… He saw something when I was a lot younger and said you’re good at this, you should move to Calgary,” said Bickerton.
“He was really instrumental in teaching me about how training works and a lot about honing a good technique and becoming a good skater.”
Bickerton said now that he’s begun to make it into world cup races, he’s going to focus on performing well at them.
“As I look forward that’s the next few years, now that I’ve made it into the world cups, now it’s about learning how to perform at every world cup and producing certain results,” he said.
“As a competitive athlete you always have goals that you’d like to achieve once you achieve your smaller ones… Sometimes it’s important to look back an realize that if you set out in the season to just make the world cup and you’ve done that, that that’s an accomplishment.”
Bickerton next races in the Norway world cup where he’ll race in the 5,000 metre, and later in Holland.