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Skate laces that bind: Family founded through sport

By Emanuel Sequeira

Author: BC Winter Games/Friday, February 26, 2016/Categories: 2016 BC Winter Games, Speed Skating

For sisters Janie and Annabelle Green, speedskating is a family sport.

It literally laid the foundation for their family: Eden Donatelli Green, their mother, met her future husband Julian Green at a world championship event.

The two parents went on to become Olympians, Eden for Canada, and Julian for Great Britain. Donatelli became the youngest athlete to make the Canadian national team at 15. She won an Olympic silver medal in the 500-metre distance and bronze in the 3,000-m relay in Calgary in 1988.

Prior to moving back to Mission, B.C., Eden and Julian were asked to get involved with coaching.

“The kids really didn’t have much choice in being involved because we’re always at the rink and if they wanted to be with us they pretty much had to start,” said Eden. “Luckily we have three of them and they all like it. They are having fun. It’s a great way for them to socialize.”

Annabelle, competing at the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games with Janie, said having parents that are former Olympians is a lot to live up to. They set high goals and Julian is hard on her at times, but she said it is also a positive.

“They know what to do,” she said.

Janie has always wanted to accomplish what her parents have. After experiencing the exhilarating feeling of winning gold on day one, Janie wants to do it again.

She was proud to see her sister earn a bronze medal as she cheered her on through the race.

In her young career, she competed in the Canadian national qualifiers last November and was the youngest of the 120 athletes across the country to skate.

Their mother shares her experiences with them, but said it’s the part when you’re disappointed that’s hard.

“That’s the part I probably share the most with all my athletes,” said Eden, who was at the Games as a parent. “It doesn’t always go your way. You can pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Refocus. Handle it with grace and good sportsmanship.

“It’s not always a gold medal that means you’re successful,” Eden continued. “It might be that they achieved a time that they wanted. Or made the pass they needed to make.”

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