Olivia Chute is back in Nova Scotia after finishing up the most successful water-skiing season she's ever had.
The 17-year-old from Windsor Junction returned from Mexico this week with the gold medal in her age division in the tricks category at the Pan Am water-ski championships held in Mexico.
"Over the course of this season my tricks have gotten cleaner and faster, so I was actually able to get in some extra tricks at the end of my run," said Chute, who put up a personal best score of over 7,000 at the event.
"My coach tells me there are less than 10 Canadian women who have ever scored that high in tricks, so that was a pretty big accomplishment that I'm proud of."
Due to COVID-19, international water-skiing events were all cancelled in 2020. That made this year even busier with Chute taking part in events in Florida and Georgia.
One of those events was the Junior Worlds, where she won the bronze medal.
Chute has been water-skiing for over a decade now.
"When I was six years old, my mom taught me how to ski, and back then it was all recreational and just for fun," said Chute, a Grade 12 student at Lockview High School in Fall River.
"But when I was nine, I went to a water-ski camp where they taught me how to trick ski."
From that point on, Chute has been obsessed with her sport and is now among the world's best for her age. She's already looking forward to 2022, where she hopes to continue her development and go to school in Florida where she'll be part of a water-ski team.
"The last few years for me in high school have been kind of a nomadic lifestyle because we'd be back and forth all the time between Nova Scotia and training in Florida and everywhere else for all the tournaments," said Chute, who hopes to attend Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., or Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where both schools have competitive NCAA water-ski programs.
"It will be nice where I can finally bring both my academic and athletic careers together."
A new trick up her sleeve
Chute also competes in slalom competitions, but tricks — including flips — are her specialty. It took Chute quite a while before she mastered flips; she admits there have been a few concussions during her career.
Last week in Mexico, her runs were flawless as she nailed the landing on both flips.
"It took me about two years before I landed my first flip and it was a huge accomplishment when I finally got it," said Chute.
"This season I started on a new flip where I start in a backwards position, and I actually landed that one for the first time just before we left for Mexico."
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