Figure skating: Hampole wins pre-novice men’s short program

Prince George skater, 12, takes top spot with score of 25.61

Alina KonevskiBlack PressJustin Hampole is bringing figure skating back to the north. The 12-year-old from Prince George won the pre-novice men short program at the B.C. Winter Games on Friday with a score of 25.61. Ehren Changcame in second with 24.61 points, and Benjamin Mangabat was third with 23.46 points.Hampole’s hometown is a hockey haven, and figure skating is not on most people’s radar, explained coach Rory Allen. When Hampole qualified for Skate Canada Challenge, he was the first from Canada’snorth to quality for a national championship in over a decade.Hampole is putting fresh life into figure skating in Prince George, and motivating more young men to get into the sport.Hampole’s skating club, Northern B.C. Centre for Skating, has been growing recently, he said.“Our club is getting figure skating back in Prince George. We’re having more people. We’re doing pretty well.”It isn’t easy being one of the only male figure skaters in a northern town, but Hampole says he has lots to keep him motivated. Number one, he loves the sport and is in it for the long haul.“I love skating. I’m not forced to do it. I’m excited to go to the rink every day,” he said.Number two, Prince George is hosting two big figure skating events in the next year. The provincial championships are coming in November 2014, and the Canada Winter Games in February 2015.That has pushed Hampole to train harder this year.“I really do want to compete in my hometown in figure skating,” he said. “(It is) lots of hard work. That definitely pays off. I have come dead last before. But when I come dead last, I use that to motivate me to get to the podium.”“I’ll see you at the Olympics in four or eight years,” he said.