Lance, what drew you into your sport? Ah,
my parents put me into figure skating at 3 years old. They put me into the Can
skate program or the Pre skate program at the Brant Skating Club and it was so
that I could learn to skate for hockey. My dad was a big hockey player, hockey
fan and yeah I think like most Canadian families they just put me in it so I
could learn to skate and with the hopes that one day I would go on to play
hockey and then from there it became apparent in a couple of years that I had
a talent for skating and then I must have somewhere along the line decided
that figure skating was what I enjoyed and I stuck with it. I never did actually
go and try hockey, to this day I’ve never played hockey. So yeah that’s how it
happened I think my passion for it developed over time after being put in
it for a completely different reason. Do you have any mentors that have had an impact on your life or sport or career? So many, I think I’ve been lucky to
be put into situations or to put myself into situations where almost everybody
that I’ve worked with up until this day has been somebody that I can learn from.
Somebody that knows more about the situation than I do, so I think everybody
in that respect has been a mentor. I was thinking about this before, I think the
biggest one I’ve never told him this but it would be my dad. My dad and my mom to
an extent. My dad was a sports, guy we were very very different growing up we
were complete opposites or I was not into the same type of sports that he was
and he had to learn really quickly having a son like me that was involved
in figure skating he had to learn about that world that he had never probably
even imagined being a part of. But I think I got my… I saw his determination I
saw the passion that he put into all of his sports and he always talked about
how he was always the shortest guy on the team but he always gave it a hundred
and fifty percent. He was always hustling and that was kind
of burned into me at a young age that
that’s what I had to do if I if I found something that I loved I could also be a
success at it if I if I tried my best and I stuck with it and never gave up no
matter what kind of challenge came along. So I’d say my father not to mention all the sacrifices he made along the way to keep me in the sport
and it’s another thing seeing that when you believe in something and you have a
passion for something if you if you want it to happen you have to you have to
make sacrifices. So I did learn a lot from him and yeah even to this day I
would say that he’s my mentor. What are some highlights of your career?
There’s been so many, back in the days when I was a competitive figure skater
the biggest highlight was there were a couple years when I was 16, 17, 18 when I
made it out of the provincial national ranks into the international circuit
that was the biggest time of my career. I would say that had been a goal from the
time I started skating to get out of Brantford and compete against the people
that I was seeing on television. When that happened it just kind of catapulted
me into a different echelon of the sport and and really lit a fire
underneath me to want to keep going and do bigger and better things.
Winning the very first international competition that I went to that would be
probably the highlight, completely unexpected because I had no idea of what
the the field was like outside of the country. But to get there and to perform
my best in that situation that was I would say that was the highlight and
that really pushed me forward and kept me going for the years after that trying
to do bigger and better things. How has the sport impacted your life? It’s been everything for me, it’s all I
knew as a child. The sport of figure skating taught me so many lessons perseverance getting over adversity.
Failing, I failed so many times I can’t probably even… I would be here all day if
I had to list all of my failures but I learned to get over that and work
through that and and not give up until I came up with a solution and a way
through it. Things like that have really impacted the way I approach everything
else in my in my life and I’ve met so many people and I’ve had so many doors
open to me had so much help along the way from so many talented and kind
individuals all across the country and it’s led me to where I am today. Being a skating choreographer and a skating coach and being able to work
with kids and help them through the things that I worked through when I was
a kid and yeah so my whole life is because of the sport and I wouldn’t know
any other way but I wouldn’t want it any other way either. What does
it mean to be inducted Brantford Sports Hall of Recognition? It’s incredible as I was saying earlier
to you I when I was a kid like 9, 10,11 I used to come into the hall every time
that I went skating at the old North Park Arena and I would walk around and
look at all of the displays and it really was a dream of mine to one day be
here to do something that would have an impact. a lasting impact and something
that I would be remembered for and for it to actually be happening… It’s 22
years after I retired from my sport so it’s been a long time and something that
I kind of put out in my mind but for it to happen now it’s it’s incredible it’s
an incredible honor to be placed amongst all of these other Wayne Gretzky to be
in the same Hall as him. It doesn’t get better than that right? Yeah, it’s it’s
just it’s it’s incredible I’m incredibly thankful and grateful what advice would you share for a young
aspiring athlete? Well I would say that when you find your passion no matter
what age it is to go for it. No matter what obstacles you might face I had a
lot of resistance in the 70s 80s early 90s I had a lot of support from the
community but I also came across a lot of obstacles. People didn’t always
understand what I was doing. A male in the sport of figure skating back then
especially in our small town was unusual, but I stuck with it I relied on
my support system I dug deep and really believed that what I was doing
was what I was meant to do and I stuck it out and amazing things have happened
because of that. So I would say when you find what you want to do go forward be
brave don’t listen to what other people say and stick with it because you
never know where it’s going to lead you. Could lead you here.

2018 Inductee, Lance Vipond – Figure Skating
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