The ‘skate whisperer’ equipping ice dancing stars for glory

Julio César Rivas and Lucía Santiago

Toronto/Madrid, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- Raj Misir is putting the finishing touches on a pair of skates before sending them to Olympic figure skater Sara Hurtado. As a laser machine engraves the Spaniard’s name on the outside of one of the boots, the vice president of Jackson Ultima Skate explains that she “likes the skate to fit like a glove.”

To the Spanish ice dancer, her skates are what a Silver Arrow is to Lewis Hamilton: a vehicle to greatness.

Her skates are “crucial” to be able to train and compete at the highest level. “Comfort, balance and grip are everything,” the Olympian tells Efe in an interview.

Although Hurtado is currently based in Moscow, she owes much of her craft to Canada, the largest figure skating market in the world where she sources her main professional tool: her custom-made skates, tailored to fit her dreams and ambitions, as well as her feet.

The small Canadian town of Cambridge, just outside Toronto, is home to the headquarters of Jackson Ultima Skate, the company that Sara Hurtado has relied on for years to manufacture the special skates she competes with.

In addition to being the vice president of the company which has been one of the world’s most popular manufacturers of figure skating skates for decades, Misir is also a “skate whisperer” — one of a rare breed who understand the idiosyncrasies of the boots and blades that make up a pair of skates.

That is why this Canadian native of Guyana was chosen by US figure skating officials to accompany the 2018 team to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea and ensure that the skates of Nathan Chan, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu were always in perfect condition.

The in-demand Misir is also in charge of designing Hurtado’s skates.

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