Local athlete training in Calgary in the sport of skeleton



By Ron Giofu


A local athlete is trying her hand in the sport of skeleton and is enjoying her new sport thus far.

Natalie Coughlin, who has a background in gymnastics and track and field, is now training in the sport of skeleton after being recruited by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton over the summer. Coughlin watched the 2018 Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea and became intrigued after hearing about the RBC Training Ground during the coverage.

The 22-year-old Amherstburg native signed up for it and went through two rounds of testing in Waterloo, Quebec before being recruited by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.

“I did a training camp with them and I had to do more testing to hit their standard,” she explained.

Now that Coughlin has hit their standard, she is able to train out of Calgary where she has spent most of her time the last few months. She will soon be training in Whistler, British Columbia and may also train later in the season in Lake Placid, New York. All tracks have been used in the Olympics, she noted.

Natalie Coughlin is back in Calgary, where she trains in skeleton. She will be heading to Whistler, B.C. soon as well.

“Any track we go to is very historic,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin said she enjoys adrenaline sports, stating “there’s nothing else like it.” She said it is a sport that many have to try out before knowing for sure whether they like it and some find out they don’t when they go to the top of a track. However, she is enjoying herself so far, stating her gymnastics background comes in handy.

“It’s more of a body-awareness sport so gymnastics helps me that way,” she said. “When sliding you have to know where you are and what to do to compensate. You steer with your head, shoulders, knees and toes.”

Most rides take about one minute, Coughlin stated, and the highest speed she’s reached so far is 110 km/hr.

There is little to no opportunity to train locally, as tracks are only built for the Olympics, so she has to go out west to train. She still calls Amherstburg home when not training, but envisions moving to Calgary full-time to train.

Training includes four to five times sliding down the track and working with weights and on sprinting in the “Ice House” in Calgary. Expenses for trainees are covered by the athletes themselves, including equipment that has to be ordered from Germany.

“It adds up,” Coughlin said of the expenses.

The eventual goal is to be an Olympic athlete with Coughlin stating that could take six to eight years. In the meantime, she will try out for the national team in September and look to compete in the North America Cup, which includes Calgary, Whistler, Lake Placid and Park City, Utah.

Former MP and family moving to Alberta


By Ron Giofu


Former Essex MP Jeff Watson and his family are moving to Alberta.

The next chapter in Watson’s life will be out west as the family have sold their Amherstburg home and will be heading to the Calgary area Nov. 14, per Watson’s Facebook page.

“I’m not at liberty to announce a new career yet. Negotiations to head up Western Canada region operations for a major national organization are ongoing, not concluded. I hope to have further news on that in due course,” Watson said online. “Rather, we’re continuing our season of family togetherness by adding new adventure: tall mountains, cool rivers and streams, dense forest, and skies that never seem to end. While losing the last election was difficult, it offered me the opportunity to deepen roots with a family that missed me even while living with me. I’m grateful for that.”

Watson wrote that he and his family “have come through grief to healing” after losing to New Democrat Tracey Ramsey Oct. 19, 2015.

Jeff WatsonWEB

“And so will come the grief of our next losses: leaving family, dear friends, the best church ever, those we had the privilege of serving for 11.5 years, my local Conservative family. Not to mention the losses for our kids: youth group, home school association, and neighbours whom they’ve known since infancy.

And memories,” Watson wrote. “A home filled with memories of the outrageously funny, and yes my far from perfection bad days; a home in which Sarah laboured and birthed our dear Ava and where our kids planned and executed a surprise welcome for Beatrice, lining the stairwell with banner unfurled as we arrived back from Nunavut. Lots of tears, fears, and growing pains.”

First elected in 2004, Watson said that “leaving doesn’t come easily” for his family as “Essex and Windsor are in our hearts and in our DNA.”

Watson said he has had “a passion for government and politics” since he was eight-years-old and said he plans on staying involved with friend Jason Kenney in his drive to become the next Premier of Alberta as well as helping the Conservatives in the 2019 federal election.

Watson and his family are hosting a farewell open house at the Buono Bar & Grill at the Verdi Club Nov. 10 from 5-8 p.m.