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Aspiring Surgeon Catherine Wright Wins Gold at Adult Nationals


The annual Christmas Ice Show in Gosport, Hampshire is a magical experience for many children, bringing families together as they watch the skaters glide effortlessly over the ice.

As a young girl, Catherine Wright loved attending the show – every year she would plead with her parents to let her on the ice and every year her desire grew. On her 10th birthday, her wish was granted, and she received the perfect gift of ten group skating lessons. Her heart raced at the thought of feeling the ice under her feet for the first time!

Her mother, who originally expected Catherine to become a swimmer, assumed that ice skating was a phase and her daughter would quickly return to swimming lessons. It was not until Catherine threatened to quit swimming altogether that the lessons were purchased, and her ice skating journey was put into motion.

The first lessons flew by and Catherine was hooked. She joined the synchronised skating team and skating club as soon as possible, eager to learn and emulate the dancers from the annual ice show.

Driven by her passion for the sport and her love of the ice, Catherine progressed through the levels, commenting: “I find ice skating absolutely freeing. I also love how strong it makes me feel when I power around the rink!” When asked about her favourite move, she said: “Definitely my choreographic splits slide where I turn a backwards drag into the splits then spin on my knees and bounce back up again to continue my programme.”

Choreographic splits slide

At age 19, the next chapter of Catherine’s life started: The study of medicine at the University of Aberdeen – a decision powered largely by Sport Aberdeen’s Linx Ice Arena and the quality of coaching available.  

The weight of a new degree programme – even one as demanding as medicine – did not sway Catherine’s motivation to skate. In fact, being tutored by head coach, Ann Cronin, only accelerated Catherine’s progress.

Training most weekday mornings before university and often starting as early as 5:45am, Catherine has progressed immensely, reaching British Ice Skating level 10 in free dance, compulsory dance and field moves, allowing her to compete in both the gold adult and senior categories.

Catherine attributes a lot of her success to Ann’s coaching and dedication to her students. Travelling up and down the country for competitions is not uncommon for Ann, who will even cross borders and seas to ensure her students have the best competition possible. Catherine feels that Ann is family rather than solely a coach, and it is likely other students feel the same.

On 28April 2023, 24-year-old Catherine competed in the adult nationals at Sheffield Ice Arena in the highest competitive category for both free dance and pattern sections and won gold!

But it does not end there, Catherine now sets her sights on the senior category, with two senior events planned for this year.

She will compete in the Aberdeen Solo Ice Dance Competition and the British Championships for solo ice dance later in the year.

Catherine wins gold!

Catherine’s rise to success on the ice is made all the more impressive as many of her opponents are  full-time ice dancers. Her ability to balance ice dancing alongside her university studies is nothing short of inspirational. For those who are looking to brave the ice, Catherine has some advice which will be sure to help you stay upright:

“Take a deep breath and try and forget any fear. If you’re scared, you will stiffen up and that’s when you will hurt yourself. Just take a deep breath and go for it, you’ll be flying round in no time!”.

Sport Aberdeen is pleased to offer a range of ice skating lessons available for all ages. To follow in Catherine’s footsteps and skate at the same rink as her, visit our website and view our full range of opportunities.

You can also read more about Catherine’s recent competition win on the Press & Journal’s website here.