Kitchener-Waterloo figure skating stars Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are headed to Budweiser Gardens in London as part of the upcoming Stars on Ice Holiday Tour on December 11 at 4pm. It’s a huge tour that travels across the country starting in December.
Weaver is an American-born skater who found her place in Kitchener, where she teamed up with K/W born Poje. She is a three-time World medalist (2014 silver, 2015 and 2018 bronze), a two-time Four Continents champion (2010, 2015), a two-time Grand Prix Final champion (2014–15, 2015–16), and a three-time Canadian national champion (2015, 2016, 2019).
In 2014-15, Weaver and Poje were at the top of their game, leading the world in the standings. London and specifically, Budweiser Gardens are very familiar with the star. The duo placed at the 2013 World Championships when in was held there.
“I definitely feel at home when we’re back in Canada, but especially Ontario, and even specifically London,” she told 519 Magazine. “London holds so many amazing memories for Andrew and me throughout our entire career spanning 16 years. But for a lot of the cast members too, Canada is our home and any time that we can spend close to home feels special, and especially during the holidays, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
When she was a teenager, Weaver relocated from Texas to Kitchener.
“I was a teenager and I was looking for a place where I could belong and Kitchener Waterloo was where I found it,” she explained. “My life changed drastically and immediately, and within six months we were named to our first World Team. And at 17, that’s huge. Then it was just a crazy roller coaster from then on. And we had high hopes.”
Weaver is satisfied with the way everything worked out.
“I can say that we achieved everything that we dreamed of and that is a blessing,” she said of her life’s goals. “We were very privileged to have had the opportunity to live out our dreams.”
Along with achieving the dream, and speaking about some of the issues, she noticed some of the problems athletes have with leaving the sport. She has recently come out to talk about them:
“It’s not uncommon to see mental health issues for people exiting the sport and all of a sudden losing a part of what they thought was their identity. I think that in general, when people experience change, it’s difficult. We like structure as people. We like consistency. And then when things change drastically, it’s difficult to ride that wave, but there is a lot of growth that the sport is doing and can be doing more.”
In June 2021, Weaver came out as queer after stating she did “not want to pretend anymore.” She noted that she did not come out during her competitive career for fear of it negatively affecting her scores.
“I like to use my platform to talk about issues that we don’t often talk about,” she explained. “Not just mental health, but queer issues, being an advocate for antiracism in and out of our sport, and now that I’m in a position that people might listen to, I feel like it’s my duty and responsibility to try and make it better for the next generation.
Tickets are available at Budweiser Gardens https://www.budweisergardens.com/events/detail/stars-on-ice-holiday-performance