Not all top British skaters are covered by the NSA grant system. For a time even when he was British champion Mark Pepperday received no help from it. Alison Southwood of Sunderland was removed from the scheme after she lost her third position in the British rankings. It could not have happened at a worse time. Her father had been made redundant and he could only find part-time work. Southwood struggled and determinedly survived but was not put back on the scheme even after she was placed second in the 1982 British Championship. She suffered a stunning blow when the international championship selection committee preferred Susan Jackson, whom she had beaten for the 1983 European and World Championships. When Karen Wood, the British champion, was withdrawn from the World Championship for disciplinary reasons after pulling out of the European Championship at the halfway stage, South-wood was substituted at the last minute. Not surprisingly, she did not do herself justice, so the NSA were able to claim their judgment was correct.
Tracey Wainman, Canada, aged 12, after competing in the 1980 World Championship. As she grew her jumping ability declined and she was a case of early burn-out by the time she was 13.
Many youngsters tend to miss a lot of schooling. Lisa and Neil Cushley are a promising couple who compete in both singles and pairs events. When their father went to their school to ask for more time off for the children to compete in the British senior championships, their headmaster mentioned that they were missing a lot of school. Mr. Cushley answered that in these troubled economic times the headmaster could not guarantee the children a job, no matter how well they did at school. However, they appear to have a glowing future ahead of them through their skating.
Barbara Graham, technical director of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, says real commitment is demanded from the young skaters who receive their financial help. They are expected to practice from three to four hours a day and their schooling is arranged to accommodate absences for training and competition. As long as they are doing well in competition this is sanctioned by the government. Skaters in the United States and Canada are helped to keep up with their schooling by the excellent government-approved correspondence courses originally intended for children living in remote areas.
The Uneven Path To Glory
Page 8
Chapter 3
3. The Uneven Path to Glory (Page 8). The Uneven Path to Glory Index Page..