It was a juggling act. Skate Canada board members planned to induct Ann Shaw into their Hall of Fame in the builder category during the Grand Prix event on Oct. 31.
How to keep the news from Shaw, who is the chair of the Skate Canada Hall of Fame and Museum Committee, proved to be a challenge.
“It was a tricky business making sure that the incredible accomplishments of this woman were acknowledged without her knowing about it,” Skate Canada marketing director Debbi Wilkes said. “It was a lot of fun. When Ann learned of the news at a board meeting a couple of weeks before the ceremony, there was not a dry eye in the house.”
Shaw has been involved in figure skating since the age of 7. She danced into fifth place at the 1959 World Championships with her on-ice partner, Eddie Collins, and the following year ranked sixth at the global event in Vancouver with partner Gilles Vanesse.
The Toronto native turned to judging and in 1976 rose to the international level. She judged her first World Championship in 1983 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and the following year served on the ice dance panel at the Olympic Winter Games.
In 2002, the International Skating Union (ISU) appointed Shaw to the ad hoc committee, whose mission it was to create and implement the new judging system.
Shaw later served as an ISU referee and a technical controller at international events. During her lengthy career, she wrote a number of manuals and educational handbooks that are used by coaches and judges all over the world.
“I asked Ann what her most memorable ice dance moments were,” Wilkes said. “She named Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall’s performance in Calgary in 1988; [Jayne] Torvill and [Christ-opher] Dean’s ‘Bolero,’ Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz’ ‘Riverdance,’ and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s Olympic and World victories.”
A passionate supporter of figure skating, particularly the discipline of ice dance, Shaw has dedicated more than six decades of her life to the sport as a competitor, official, educator and mentor.
Virtue acknowledged Shaw’s commitment to their discipline. “Scott [Moir] and I were lucky to meet Ann in the early days of our career,” Virtue recalled. “Ann has been a constant source of inspiration every step of the way. Her insight and expertise are unmatched. There is no one more respected.”
Originally published in February 2011