Meet Australia’s First Figure Skating World Champion

By Danielle Pope

Photo by Joosep Martinson - ISU/ISU via Getty Images
Photo by Joosep Martinson - ISU/ISU via Getty Images
How a young Indigenous man from Rooty Hill, is putting Australia on the ice skating map

One wrong turn by his mum driving around Blacktown, proved to be a changing point in 19-year-old Harley Windsor’s life. Eight year’s old at the time, Windsor had never ice skated, but was keen to give it a go after they suddenly found themselves at an ice rink. “I was with my mum and we were near Blacktown and sort of just took a wrong turn and found an ice rink,” Windsor told SBS. “I decided I wanted to give it a go, and I went in and liked it.”

Windsor’s mum, Josie, recalled her shock at seeing Harley take so easily to skating. “I went in there and he is zipping back and forward on the ice rick and I said, ‘Harley I didn’t know you could ice skate son,’ and he said, ‘Neither did I mum.’”

Windsor’s parents are both Indigenous Australians – his mother Josie is from the Weilwyn and Gamilaraay people and his father Peter is from the Gamilaraay and Ngarrable people. There is no history of skating in the family. “I’m the odd one out,” Windsor says with a laugh, “But both my parents are 100 per cent supportive of it. Whatever they can do to support me, they do it.”

After that fateful day at 8 years’ old, Windsor began a gruelling training regime of skating before and after school. He trained with coaches Galina and Andrei Pachin, who told SBS that they immediately noticed the young athlete’s potential. “In the first weeks of training I saw a great potential in Harley as a skater,” said Galina. “He was like plasticine, and with very good coordination of movements.”

Windsor was then partnered with Russian teenager Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya. The pair just became Australia’s first world figure skating champions earlier this month, after they won gold in the junior titles in Taiwan. “I’m shocked, it’s crazy to put Australia in the scene for skating,” Windsor told The Herald Sun.

The pair now have their sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.


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