Kailani Craine never gives up

Kailani Craine needs little or no introduction to ice-skating fans. In her short but spectacular career to date, she has won six senior international medals including a gold at the 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy which is held in Germany each year.

She has won four Australian national championships and is the reigning Australian national champion. In her younger years, she won nationals in the lower levels (novice and junior levels), so she now has a total of 11 national championship titles. She also took part in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

 Q: What have you been up to since taking part in the Winter Olympics?

 Straight after the Olympics I prepared and competed at the World Championships in Milan Italy. I love Italy and I especially love Milan and Lake Como. It was fun to be back in Italy. At the end of March, I was back at my home base in Los Angeles training for Autumn Classic - a competition in Ontario, Canada. I finished in fourth place.

 Q: So what is on the radar for you from a skating point of view in the short-term, medium-term and long-term?

 Short-term: I have competitions in three weeks’ time in Riga Latvia, and Insbrook Austria. I’ll also prepare myself to defend my national title at the Australian Figure Skating Championships in December.

 Medium-term: I aim to increase my world ranking, take Four Continents Championships in Feb at Anaheim California, USA (which is convenient for me as it is only a 30-minute drive from my Manhattan Beach home) and compete in the World Championships in Japan in March 2019.

 Long-term: I am on the road to Beijing! I would love to represent Australia again at the Beijing Olympic Games. I feel I am in top shape, and I can achieve this goal. 

 Q: Which Catholic schools did you attend?

 I attended St James Primary School, Kotara South, St Pius X High School, Adamstown, and St Francis Xavier College, Hamilton, finishing my HSC with an atar. 

 Q: Why did you (or your parents) choose Catholic schools for you?

 My dad and his siblings went to St James Primary school. When I enrolled at St James Primary School it was amazing to find out that a few teachers that had taught my Dad, were now going to teach me too. Again, my Dad went to St Pius X High school, where I went, and there were teachers that were teaching me that had taught my Dad. The teachers still remember my dad too, which is pretty cool in itself.

 Q: What do you consider to be the main benefits of your Catholic education?

 The main benefit of my Catholic education is learning traditional values. I was taught values and it has affected the way I conduct my life. I am extremely grateful and blessed to have this education. I love seeing monuments of things that we talked about in school. I travel a lot, so I see a lot of countries and go a lot of places where people wouldn’t go normally. I used to collect different countries flags and bring them home to my teachers at St Pius. 

 Q: What does success mean for you?

Success for me is being happy and having happy healthy family and friends.

Q: One article says your success is the result of a hefty dose of talent, skill and hard work. What other factors have played a part in you achieving the successes you have? Do you attribute this to things such as the values you were taught as a student, or your faith or the support of your family etc?

I attribute my success so far as a reward for my hard work, my commitment to work ethic and the support I receive around me - not just in my sport but to all areas of my life. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to live my life the way he has intended, and with hard work, I hope to achieve and find a way to help others. I am very blessed that I was given a proper education and received unlimited support from everyone around me, including the teachers and staff, which provided strong foundations for me to achieve my dreams. 

Q: Skating, like any professional sport, has its highs and lows. How has your Catholic education helped you deal with these highs and lows?

Great question. I have had plenty of highs and lows. I was in Year 5 at St James Primary school when I won my first national title in Primary Ladies division. I remember, as it was my first title, the feeling of standing on the podium receiving my medal and flowers.

Fast forward to World Championships Helsinki 2017. The top 22 ladies were given a ticket to the Olympic Games. I skated well in the short program, but when the final came I crumbled and made mistakes I wouldn’t normally make. I let the event and outcome prevent me from doing my job. I was devastated to not finish in the top 22, and knew I then had to go to the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany to fight for the last 8 places. It was a low day for me, and I counted on my family and faith to pull me through that day.

I bounced back, had a little faith and continued training. I went to Nebelhorn and won the competition and my ticket into the Olympics. After growing through the experiences just mentioned, by the time I arrived at the Olympics I had learned to control my feelings. I realised that anything can happen and anything can go wrong, but if I relax and have a little faith in myself, I actually skate better. 

Q: What advice would you give to a student who, like you, had dreams of being a success in a chosen field of endeavour?

I always write my dreams down, because once they are on paper they become goals, then it becomes a plan. 

My advice is NEVER GIVE UP. Never. Not even an option. Even on the bad days. Today you have the chance to become better than you were yesterday. 


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John Kingsley-Jones

John Kingsley-Jones was the Head of Diocesan Communications from September 2017 to July 2019. 

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