Posted By SkatingPj

Vaughn Chipeur and Amanda Avila
Last time I saw Olympian Vaughn Chipeur, it was at a social function in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when he confided in me that he wouldn't be attending Worlds in Torino, Italy. (See?  I CAN keep a secret and for a long time too!) Turns out that he had injured the ligaments in his right foot so severely that it was recommended that he rest it immediately and follow it up with surgery (but only if he wanted to continue walking <lol>) He says: "I landed a triple flip in December of '09 when I was training for Canadians and I heard a pop." Typical Vaughn - he persevered.  He was in so much pain that in the Olympic Village, he had an MRI and recounts: "They said 'it's a good thing you didn't compete because there was no fluid between the joints.' And I said, but I did compete' and nobody could believe it." He managed the Olympics with lots of physio before, during and after his practice sessions. When he really sought a medical opinion, he was advised that competing at Worlds three weeks after Vancouver could mean that he might not continue walking.

Not surprisingly, elite athletes seem to have the extraordinary ability to put aside their physical selves in order to accomplish the task at hand. After talking to Skate Canada people to discuss not competing at Worlds, Vaughn left for home on the Monday after the Games.  He went to the rink on Tuesday and found that he couldn't make it across the ice because of the intense pain. It would appear that once he had accepted that this was serious, he allowed the reality of the pain to seep into his consciousness meaning he couldn;t skate where he had been able to just a few days before. This is a case of mind over matter like so many others in the sports world.

So if your life isn't about Worlds happening in the next 3 weeks and you have to change gears, what will it be? "Now what? At that point, I still didn't decide to retire. I took 4 months off for the first time in my life."

it seems from speaking with Vaughn that the decision to retire happened in stages.  He decided just a few days before scheduled surgery that it wasn't the solution for him. "As much as anything I needed the break." Aside from some "noises" in his feet when he lands jumps, he says now he is in good shape.

Skating is...."my job" and the way that Vaughn now makes his living. Currently on the cruise circuit with Royal Caribbean, Vaughn continues to be a contradiction in terms: from enjoying physical pursuits like sky diving and bungee jumping he is interested in the emotional and is considering an education in psychology with a view to becoming a clinical psychologist.

He would advise anyone pursuing a career in skating "Skating is a long road. Don't get into skating for the short haul." He and coach Scott Davis had a plan that worked for them and that was for Vaughn to "skate as directed." Vaughn says "skating is one of the few sports that noone in the word can do well competitively skating at a recreational level." True enough. So, skating at a competitive level like he did, what was the secret to Vaughn achieving his dream of competing at the Olympics? "I skated as directed." he said with a chuckle.

The best gift skating has given Vaughn? His relationship with singer Amanda Avila pictured here, whom he met on the cruise ship.

More from Vaughn:

Don't forget LOTS more videos on Pj's YouTube ChannelPjKwongWordBroker

3 Comment(s):
janet said...
I'm impressed by his courage to follow his instincts, to know and listen to what he needs. He managed to skate, and then had the strength do what he knew what was best for himself instead of taking the advice of those who... usually claim to know better... And it seems it's paid off. Good for him.
Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:00 PM
Gabby said...
Really Sally? If you had the chance to compete in the Olympics - even though you were absolutely guaranteed to only get last place - would you still not go? Yes the Olympics is about being the best in the world but the experience and the overall elation from competing among the World's best athletes more than make up for knowing you aren't going to win. Easy for you to judge, not so easy to understand the culmination of a career in a dream and the opportunity to fulfill that dream coming to fruition.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 11:06 AM
Sally Praskey said...
While I can appreciate that competing at the Olympics was Vaughn's dream, IMHO, he shouldn't have skated. It is like Rachael Flatt competing at World's this year with an injury, and she was fined for it, as it cost the U.S. placements for this year by taking away the spot from someone else who was healthy enough to compete. And let's admit it, Vaughn did skate terribly at Olympics. Although I always liked the reckless abandon with which he skated, that was completely missing at Olympics. I think he popped just about every triple axel, which was his calling card. Definitely not his finest moment.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:24 AM
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