Even though she wasn’t born in this City, Red Deerians will likely always claim Jamie Sale as one of their own and she doesn’t have a problem with being shared by a few cities.
“I’m actually back quite a bit visiting my family,” the Calgary born skater explained during a recent trip down from Edmonton to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
“I have so many great child hood memories growing up here,” said Sale, who left Red Deer when she was 15 years old to attend high school in Edmonton. “I’m grateful that my dad still lives here, my brother still lives here so I can come back and share the memories.”
Being a member of the Hall of Fame along the QE II Hwy. is one of so many memories during a stellar skating career for the 35-year-old.
Topping the list just might be the Olympic gold medal captured in 2002 with her partner David Pelletier under a cloud of controversy.
The two Canadians had a very strong performance in the long program at the games in Salt Lake City but were placed second behind the Russian duo until it was later revealed one judge was pressured into giving her vote to the Russians in exchange for a favourable vote for the French ice dancing pair.
The ruling was reversed with Sale and Pelletier sharing the gold instead, Canada’s first gold medal in figure skating since 1960.
Since then it has been a roller coaster ride for Sale, turning professional with Pelletier for the Stars on Ice program, marrying her partner in 2004 and having a son Jesse with Pelletier before the two parted ways off the ice.
She has since remarried, tying the knot with former Edmonton Oiler Craig Simpson who was her partner in the CBC series Battle of the Blades which they won.
Even though competitive skating is behind her Sale still is admired by the young skaters who patiently wait in line to get an autograph .
“It just brings me back to my childhood too, when and how I started,” she explained.
In fact, she got her start on the ice when a neighbour convinced here to try the CanSkate program.
“I felt a real passion for it and I took it up and I remember loving it more and more each year and then I got competitive and I had no idea what I was doing.”
Seeing these young kids with the same passion as she had at that age when her idols were skaters like Elizabeth Manley and Isabelle Brasseur is an honour and at the same time very familiar for her, she said.
“I would talk about how I had the same skates as them. I would actually do my costume like them or I would finish my program like Liz Manley did at the Olympic Games.”
She admits it’s very special to have these young girls wanting to emulate her when it comes to skating and she makes sure she shares what she can from her experience in the world of figure skating.
“A lot of them are really shy so it’s more about having a conversation with them,” she said. “I always tells kids to dream big because that was kind of my attitude when I was little. I used to talk big and tell people I was going places.”
As history showed, she backed up the talk with plenty of results and is very appreciative of being remembered in this community instead of being forgotten, she said.
“It’s pretty darn cool.”