Eden Donatelli-Green

Eden Donatelli Green:

At thirteen months old, Eden began skating at the local ice rink in Mission, figure skating at the Mission arena at age 3 and then switching to speed skating at age 4. Her father, George, having coached hockey for several years, was her speed skating coach. Her mother, Jane schooled her in Highland Dancing giving Eden plyometric strength and, more importantly, an advantage on the ice. Together George and Jane forged a team that quickly made Eden the fastest skater in her own age class, and often more senior age classes too. She often competed with children two or three years her senior just to challenge her abilities!

In 1983, Eden qualified for the Canadian National Training Team at the age of 13 years! As a result she was never on a provincial team and went directly to representing both BC and Canada at World Championships.

At age 15 Eden competed in her first World Championships. At 16 she won a gold medal in the 500m at the World Championships in Montreal, Quebec, and at 17 she moved to Quebec to live and train at the National Training Center in order to be part of the Olympic relay team. Not speaking French fluently and living alone in a strange province was extremely difficult for Eden, but she overcame to win silver (500m) and bronze (3000m relay) Olympic medals at the 1988 Olympic games in Calgary. Finally, after two years the National High Performance Committee permitted Eden to be coached by her father again at home in Mission.

Eden excelled in her home environment and skated at two Olympic games, seven World Championships, Multiple International events and Canadian Championships. It was there that she met her husband, Julian, also a speed skater representing Great Britain, at some of the same events.

Eden’s participation in the National Team program meant that she had to miss a great deal of high school—a challenge for every young high performance athlete. Balancing her education and training schedules, Eden completed courses early so that she would have less courses to complete during the school year. In the summer of grade 11, she completed grade 12 English by correspondence and then moved to Montreal to train for the ’88 Olympic games. While in Montreal, Eden completed the rest of her grade 12 courses by correspondence and graduated with her class in 1988. Eden attended McGill University in 1988/89 and then moved back to BC to live and train, studying at the University of British Columbia and Fraser Valley College. In 1992, after marrying British Olympic Speed Skater Julian Green, Eden moved to Calgary. She was accepted into the Faculty of Education and made the decision to retire from skating in order to focus on her studies. Eden completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of Calgary in 1995. Also in 1995 Eden moved back to Mission, BC and began teaching grade 1 at John Maclure Community School in Abbotsford. Eden completed a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Curriculum and Instruction at Simon Fraser University in 1998. She also became a Reading Recovery Teacher in 1999

Eden excelled in speed skating at a time when no other BC female had qualified to the National Short Track Team. Eden was also the only female Anglophone on the Canadian team for many years. To date the only other English speaking female to represent Canada at the Short Track World Championships or Olympics is Susan Auch. She regularly competed against Sylvie Daigle, Natalie Lambert, Susan Auch, Maryse and Annie Perrault, Isabelle Charest and Christine Boudrias. As a young Long Track skater Eden’s main competition was Catriona LeMay (Doan).

During her speed skating career, the sport was not well known or well televised. Eden benefited from the support of her home community of Mission, as well as the Mission Racers Speed Skating Club. She also had many wonderful coaches: Clara Overend, Dennis Brain, Sandra Clements, Larry Lewin, and of course, her father, George Donatelli.

Feeling a need to share her experiences to children, Eden was part of the Athlete’s Motivation Excellence Program 1988-1991. She began coaching after retiring from competition in 1992, and continues to coach with her dad and her husband at three local clubs (Ridge Meadows Racers, Sardis Fliers, and Langley Blades). Eden has a full time grade one / Learning Assistance teaching position at John Maclure Community School in Abbotsford, and is completing her Masters degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities at Simon Fraser University.

Many rules and laws have been re-thought and re-worded due to her exemplary achievements at such a young age, thus smoothing the difficult road ahead for future generations of young speed skaters all across Canada. Her inspiring feats have encouraged many young girls and boys to take up the sport of short track speed skating and her coaching skills continue to help them reach their dreams.