Stacy Singer, the best baton twirler in the world

A win at a world championship got Stacy Singer noticed, but it was only the start of an enviable career for the top baton twirler.

Saskatchewan athlete was winning competitions starting when she was very young

The National tells viewers about Stacy Singer's big win in August of 1985. 1:31

At just eight years of age, Stacy Singer was a determined competitor and a world-champion baton twirler. 

And her startling success on the world stage three decades ago made the other baton twirlers from her hometown of Regina dream big.

Stacy Singer is seen being greeted in Regina in August 1988, after winning the junior category at the World Baton Twirling Championships. (The National/CBC Archives)

In August of 1985, Singer won the junior division of the World Baton Twirling Championships — held in Frankfurt, in what was then West Germany. Her return to Saskatchewan after the competition was featured on The National.

"She competed against 30 other youngsters from around the world — some as old as 14," the CBC's Joni Mar told viewers.

Mar reported that Singer had developed her world-class skills by practicing "six hours a day for four years."

The young champ told CBC she was confident in her abilities during the competition.

"I knew I could do good because in the first round I got second. So I said: 'If I do a little bit better, I can manage it,'" said Singer.

'Just like their hero'

Up-and-coming baton twirlers are inspired by the success of Stacy Singer. 0:49

A few months later, another CBC reporter caught up with Singer when she was training in Regina.

Maureen Johnson is seen coaching young baton twirlers in 1985. (Midday/CBC Archives)

"This is where Stacy and her coach, Maureen Johnson, train," reporter Howard Thornton told CBC viewers in October of 1985. "And now there's a whole generation of twirlers who'd like to be just like their hero."

Maureen Johnson said that Singer's story had inspired other up-and-coming twirlers and convinced them the hard work was worth it.

"The goal of a gold medal at that level seems a lot more possible since Stacy actually did it," said Johnson. "It's someone that they know."

But even Singer would admit that becoming a world-class twirler wasn't easy — or painless.

"I get frustrated if you drop it too many times and it hits you lots and stuff," Singer told CBC, admitting that yes, as you might expect, getting bumped by a moving baton hurts.

"If it doesn't work out, you just say to yourself: 'Well, this time I'm going to do it,' and it'll probably work out."

Stacy Singer talks to CBC about some of the frustrations that come with baton twirling. 0:21

Singer would continue to dominate her competition for years, winning multiple provincial, national and world championships during her career. She was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Her long career as a champion baton twirler left her with a certain measure of fame.

"People don't recognize me but they do recognize my name," Singer told the Regina Leader-Post in 2007. "I wouldn't like it if people recognized me on the street but it's just my name," she added.