By Cristina Valencia
Karen Magnussen has always shown courage in the face of adversity. She was a fierce competitor who overcame devastating injuries only to come back stronger than ever, collecting five Canadian titles, a World title and an Olympic silver medal during her competitive career. After performing with Ice Capades for four years, she turned to coaching; something she had hoped to do for the rest of her life until a tragic accident changed everything.
In November 2011, there was an ammonia leak at the North Shore Winter Club where she was coaching, causing her to inhale the poisonous gas. As she tried to get all the young skaters out, the ammonia seared her lungs and, as a result, she is now permanently disabled. Karen now struggles with daily tasks that most people take for granted and she has lost her livelihood only to find herself in an uphill battle with insurance companies. However, the Connaught Skating Club in cooperation with the BC Section is determined to show her that she is not alone. They have put together the “Karen Magnussen Tribute: A Benefit Show” that will take place March 14, in her honor.
“We are fortunate to have such a high level of skating here in Richmond along with an incredible volunteer base to put on such an important show. Any donations that we can produce from this event is the least we can do to help out Karen through a difficult time,” says Keegan Murphy, the director of skating programs.
The show will feature 100 skaters from the Connaught Skating Club, including Canadian Junior National champions and Junior World competitors Mitchell Gordon and Larkyn Austman, seven-time national men’s competitor Garrett Gosselin, and six-time National men’s competitor Shawn Cuevas. Magnussen has devoted her whole life to skating in one way or another. She has given so much to others and has been a long time supporter of developing talent in British Columbia. She has an annual funding program that reaches out to specific skaters who are showing great promise. A number of skaters from the Connaught Skating Club have been fortunate enough to receive annual assistance from this program. Now Magnussen is the one who needs a helping hand, but not just from them, from the entire figure skating community.
“Help get the word out! The more tickets we sell for the show, the more of a success the entire day will be for Karen! Fans from all over the world can help share with friends and family and post any relevant links on their social media outlets,” says Murphy.
Tickets are available at www.coastregistry.biz/karentributetix.