To The Worlds

Mature BC women in sparkles and spandex defy doubts, age and gravity to go for gold in international adult figure skating
Available on CBC Gem

To The Worlds


“The brochure said ‘For ages four and up.’ So I said, ‘Well, tell me where it says I can’t join?’ And they were like, ‘How old are you? You’re older than my mom.’ I’m like, ‘I’m older than your grandmother.’”— 59-year-old Wendy Ord  

Wendy Ord took to the ice in her fifties after a difficult divorce. She needed a challenge — and she found one! After many years of bone-jarring falls onto the ice, 59-year-old Wendy is now part of a team of “mature”’ women preparing for the International Skating Union’s 2018 International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. They decide to enter only six months before the competition, but they’re still determined to bring home some medals. To The Worlds follows these remarkable Kelowna, B.C.-area women as they defy their years, gravity and sometimes their doctors to push themselves to the edge.

Imagine Skate Canada meets The Real Housewives. Funny, irreverent and poignant, this documentary is a feel-good story about crazy dreams and second chances. Some skaters, like Wendy, learned to skate later in life. Others came back to the sport after having careers and children. All take pride in their strength and agility. “Some women our age can’t get off the toilet without help,” Maureen Barnes, 76, says with a chuckle and a hint of pride.

What began, for these women, as an opportunity for casual, fun exercise and female bonding swiftly becomes something more intense in To The Worlds. Seeing their skills progress, and medals pile up from local and regional competitions, Karen Smith, 46, suggests they sign up for the ISU International Adult Figure Skating Competition only six months away.

Each woman reveals why she’s taken on the challenge of a lifetime — and why now. As the clock ticks down, the skaters push themselves to their physical and mental limits, suffer debilitating injury, endure crushing disappointment and confront the still-powerful pull of parental expectations.

Pressure mounts. Cracks appear in the armour. One skater’s ruthless drive to win at all costs threatens friendships. 49-year-old Isabella Ciocoiu, the most intensely competitive member of the team, puts it this way: “If you want to get a piece of pure gold, you put it in fire. That seems cruel, but this is how you refine the gold. [A teammate’s injury] could be just the fire we are put through to be refined.”

While the documentary does paint a moving portrait of ambition, To The Worlds is ultimately a film about the power of female friendship and the pursuit of happiness — about learning to stop worrying about society's expectations and, finally, please oneself.

Of course, there’s still the matter of the medals. As Wendy says, “Anybody who tells you they don’t want a medal is a liar, even me.” But with only six months to prepare, can the team actually bring home any hardware?



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To The Worlds