Born and raised in Atlantis, 6 year old Matthew Samuels was a hyperactive kid who only calmed down when he was skating on the ice. At the age of 18, the hyperactive kid from Atlantis was crowned South Africa’s National Junior Men’s champion.
Matthew has represented South Africa at the Estonian Junior Grand Prix, the Dresden Junior Grand Prix in Germany, and the he has represented South Africa in the International Junior Figure Skating Championships. He took gold at the World Development Trophy and he took the bronze at the FMBA Trophy in Abu Dhabi. His sister, 15 year old Abigail, is also skating gold medallist and they are both on the SA national team.
His mother, Suzette, is “extremely proud” of his achievements and she says he has worked very hard to get to where he is. Matthew and his sister practises two hours a day and only rests on Sunday’s.
Suzette’s is known as the “Fundraising Queen” because she has gone to extreme lengths to make sure that they have the funds to compete. The sport does not come cheap which means that Suzette has to raise funds by selling cookies and raffle tickets, and organising dances and karaokes. She also makes their costumes and she doubles up as their mental coach. She says that she and her husband are willing to make the necessary sacrifices because it is something their parents would never been able to give them. She wants her children to have the kind of life that she could not have as a child.
Despite their demanding travel schedule, both Samuel and his sister is still expected to do their schoolwork. Whenever they are traveling outside of Cape Town or abroad, their school emails them all their homework which they have to hand in on time.
Matthew’s (and his sister’s) current goal is qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He knows it will be challenging, but with the support of his family, he is ready and able to take that gold.
Sources: IOL (edited from articles written by Francesca Villette and Bertram Malgas)
Photo Source: IOL