You wouldn’t be out of line for calling the Greens the first family of short-track speed skating in British Columbia.
Mom Eden is a silver and bronze medal skater from the 1988 Calgary Olympics, her husband Julian competed for Great Britain in long track at those Games and 31 years later on Family Day, their daughters Jane and Annabelle took centre stage on the race track at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
“The family that plays together stays together. That’s our motto and we are there at every practice and race with the kids,” says Julian. “It bonds us. We talk strategies, equipment, watch skating on TV. We talk about what it means to have the discipline it takes to be an elite athlete and how that can transfer into a job or university student’s life. We only see the upside of sport.”
Jane, 18 and Annabelle, 16, are competing in five events, from 500 metres to 3,000 metres. Skaters for the team relay have yet to be announced.
“It feels pretty lucky to be here with two kids. Most people are hoping even one kid will qualify for Canada Games and for us to have both girls skate here is really special,” says Eden, cheering on her girls at the Gary W. Harris Centre. “We’ve been fortunate to share something we love so much that has been so much a part of our lives and our kids have learned to love it, too. It’s something we can share with them and be part of all of our lives.”
Eden and Julian transitioned from world-class athletes to world-class coaches and settled in Mission. They guide skaters from several clubs in B.C., including their daughters and son Samuel, a recent triple gold medallist in his national age group, who was not old enough to compete at the Red Deer Games. The same age restriction rules kept Eden out of the Canada Games in 1983.
Jane and Annabelle have both been skating since they were two, competing since they each turned 11 and love being in a skating family. “At first I did not like it,” says Annabelle. “I cried and sulked on the ice but then I grew to like it. I like competing – what happens, happens and at the end of the day, I have fun.”
“Mom was a mutant. She was on the national team when she was 15 and junior world champion and won Olympic medals — she was young and fast,” says Jane. “As coaches, they know what they’re doing. They’re tough on us sometimes because they know what we can do and they expect a lot, but sometimes you need that push.”
Skating, and the lessons it teaches, are always front and centre at the Green house.
“The important thing for us is that the kids learn how to work hard and be successful and that’s what sport teaches kids,” says Eden. “It’s not important if the kids are Olympians or win everything. It’s about understanding that when they work hard they are successful and that translates to all parts of their life.”