Interview With Garrett Gosselin

Photograph of Canadian figure skater Garrett Gosselin

When you hear skaters, judges, coaches and fans of skating all say that the future of Canadian skating is bright, they aren't lying. Skaters like Patrick Chan and Kaetlyn Osmond might only be young themselves but there's a whole generation of ridiculously talented skaters waiting in the wings for their time to shine. One of these skaters is Saskatchewan's Garrett Gosselin, a 21 year old gay and proud skater on a mission. Coached by Eileen and Keegan Murphy of Vancouver and choreographed by Mark Pillay and Lance Vipond, Garrett is a packaged skater (Peter Griffin laugh... package) with a very bright future in the sport. On a side note, Garrett Gosselin and Audrey Weisiger need to talk - Garrett's skating has YAS written all over it! A senior men's competitor on the move, Garrett took the time to talk about his career to date, perseverance, his goals, how dance has helped his skating and much more in this interview.

Photograph of Canadian figure skater Garrett Gosselin
Danielle Earl photo

Q: Last season, you finished 3rd at the Skate Canada Challenge qualifying competition and in the top 10 at your first Canadian Nationals as a Senior Men's competitor. This year was a very tough Olympic year and you finished 12th at Nationals despite putting some great skating out there. What are you proudest of so far in your skating career? 

A: I would have to say my perseverance in this sport. I am most proud of how I never give up. I've had 2 serious injuries that have cost me the better part of 2 years, yet that was never enough to hold me back from my goal. Despite having lost so much time on the ice, I have learned so much about how my body works and what my body needs to stay healthy. Because of that, I’ve had a full year of no injuries, and that is a huge accomplishment.

Q: You're studying contemporary dance at Simon Fraser University to improve your understanding of music and movement. What have you learned the most on the dance floor that's changed the way you skate and look at skating?

A: I've learned how to appreciate the quality and simplicity of movement. I've always been a natural mover on and off the ice but through my dancing I've learned how to control movement and understand it, which is something I didn't get to learn as much of in skating. In fact, it is surprising how little experience most skaters have in dance, considering how similar the two sports are. Surely they have their obvious differences but when it comes to choreography, interpretation, control, and movement they can both overlap a fair bit. The dance outlet has really benefited my skating in a number of ways; it has given me a new and more knowledgeable appreciation for movement and also for the quality that can be attained within that movement and that is something I want to bring into my skating as well as back into this sport.

Q: You're also an International Studies student at SFU so obviously have a lot of interest in other cultures. What are 3 places in the world you'd love to visit and why?

A: I do have a strong interest in other cultures, and I was born to travel... I can tell you that. I haven't traveled internationally as much as I would have liked to but my time will come and hopefully my future career will bring me places. My top 3 places I’d love to visit are: Germany, because I’m studying the language and the history and it would be really interesting for me to go there and experience German culture first hand. I would also love to visit New Zealand, because I think it’s a beautiful country that isn't usually thought for a top 3 list. Also, my favourite film trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" was filmed there and it would be interesting so see the scenery in real life. Last but certainly not least, I would love to visit the Galapagos Islands simply to witness the vast number of exotic and endangered species of our time. I would be beyond happy! Although, I need to mention the difficulty I have in deciding which places belong in the top 3. I literally want to go EVERYWHERE.

Q: What are the three most played songs on your playlist? 

A: "Be The One" by Moby, "Fire in Your New Shoes" featuring Dragonette by Kaskade, and "Lucky Ones" by Lana Del Rey (I love Lana)!

Q: Looking towards next season, what are some of your goals and what things do you specifically want to focus on in training to improve both your TES and PCS scores? 

A: I've already started getting mileage in on my triple axel. It's been a jump that I had to put aside until I was healthy and now I am more ready than ever. I'm also starting to work on new triple/triple combinations to expand my range for my short program. The sooner I can start showing my triple axel the better and with a more consistent triple/triple repertoire, I'm sure I’ll be on my way to a higher TES in no time. As for my PCS, my coaches are good at pushing speed limit and I always try to play with new transitions into my elements. The dance will also help strengthen my upper body and the clarity of my movements.

Q: What kind of programs do you have in mind for next year to set you apart from the flock or is your mind not there yet? 

A: I'm keeping my short program for this year. I didn't feel like I skated it to my full potential and I want to showcase it a bit more. I will be getting a new long program this year, however I don’t have any information to give about it. I’m still looking for music.

Q: When you have a rough program or a rough day in training how do you pick yourself and remind yourself that tomorrow's a new day and keep that positive attitude going? 

A: I remind myself that nobody is making me do this. I chose to skate because it's what I'm good at and it's what I LOVE to do. I have a huge support team that love me for who I am and I know they will always be proud no matter what. When I have a rough day, my coaches make me push through it no matter what and I always manage to find something positive to think about. My former coach Sylvie Wandzura has taught me nearly everything you need to know about positivity and that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Also, I won’t lie: Sushi is usually a one-step remedy to a bad day.

- Being from Saskatchewan, you must have been so excited to see Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers qualify for their first Winter Olympic Games this year. What makes Paige and Rudi so special?

A: I will NEVER forget that moment. Paige and Rudi deserve every minute at those Games. They have been great role models for EVERY single skater in Saskatchewan including myself. They have inspired me to persevere and to never forget about the strength of the Prairie folk. They have always represented Saskatchewan with pride and joy and they always will. What’s really special about them though, is how personable and humble they are to the skating world. They treat each skater as an equal whether that skater is a World Champion or skating at a local Saskatchewan competition level. They are Canadian Olympic heroes in my eyes.

Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why? 

A: Jeffrey Buttle is and will always be my favourite skater of all time. I admired his talent for years growing up; he was my biggest inspiration. I'll never forget when I saw his Philip Glass Long Program in the 2005 Canadian Championships in London. It was a work of art and ever since, I too, have wanted to create art on ice just like he did that day. I'm a huge fan of Carolina Kostner as well. She's always had a very unique look to her and I love her speed and flow. Her long program from the World Championships last year was phenomenal. Lastly, Daisuke Takahashi. Over the past few years, he has shown huge sophistication in his programs compared to many and of course his technical abilities can challenge anyone's on a good day.

Q: What's one thing about you most people don't know? 

A: Only a few people know that I’m obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkien and his creation of Middle-Earth’s "The Lord Of The Rings". I have all of his books. I have all the movies and all the video games. The best part is that I'm not even embarrassed to share it. I'm a geek! Oh, also... I was a Boy Scout for 9 years.

Q: What do you care about most in life? 

A: I care most about my family and friends. Sharing time with my family and my other half, Shaun Gheyssen, is something I cherish over anything. Shaun is a professional ballet dancer in Atlanta, Georgia with the Atlanta Ballet Company. I love adventure and a challenge and having him at my side to experience it all with me is a dream come true, so I couldn't be happier. I am lucky to have so many loved ones in my life.

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