Goodbye (but not farewell) to Rudi Swiegers

It’s true. Yet another top Canadian pair has separated: Rudi Swiegers has decided to take a year off from competitive skating for personal reasons and that spelled an end to his nine-year partnership with Paige Lawrence.

The personalities of the two from Saskatchewan always filled the room. Swiegers is known for having offered up his own skate to U.S. rival (and sometimes training mate) Mark Ladwig, who had broken the heel of his boot during the short program at the 2011 Four Continents championship. Swiegers had already skated, so ran down to the ice to offer up his boot so that Ladwig, skating with Amanda Evora, could continue skating within a time limit.

Swiegers later received an award for good citizenship from U.S. Figure Skating.

Lawrence was a gutsy competitor from a rodeo family. She sustained a concussion the month before the 2012 Canadian championships, but competed and won a bronze medal. Their career is one of a string of bronze medals: third at four Canadian championships, third at the Four Continents, third at a Skate Canada International, always believing they were capable to being the best in Canada, always held back by injury and circumstance.

The team trained in Virden, Man. But both endeared themselves to the world with their utter joy at just being able to compete at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. (They were 14th). They finished 12th at the world championships in Japan after that.

Lawrence is looking for a new partner, but she’ll keep an open mind about her future.

“One of my greatest joys is that we’ve been able to succeed and achieve our goals while staying true to our small-town roots,”Swiegers said. He thanks coach Patricia Hole and Lyndon Johnston for all they’ve done for him: “untold hours on and off the ice,” he said in a prepared statement. “Their dedication to me as a person and an athlete has been paramount in making me the man I am today.”

Still, Swiegers, 26, of Kipling, Sask. said that this change was not “goodbye” for him, but “rather see you later.”

Lawrence said she was never happier than she was while skating her Olympic and world championship programs. “We have reached a point now where we both want different things and I wish Rudi all the health, happiness and continued success in whatever path he follows.”

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