Golden Sweetheart Jamie Sale: What's New lately? Flash Back to Olympic Win, Onward to Love, Life & Family
Jamie Sale. What does that name conjure up? The Olympics, scandal, rise to fame, gold medals, romance and tragic undoing? There are these and much more that make up the woman; the driven, fiery and beautiful, Alberta born champion figure skater, Ms. Jamie Sale.
It’s been two years since Sale officially hung up her skates, and did so with zero regrets. Life nowadays is a whole new adventure involving motherhood, business endeavours and a second chance at love.
But first, let’s go back to where it all started when at the tender age of five Sale began her journey into the world of figure skating. Up to the age of seven, the determined and energetic youngster was involved in both skating and gymnastics. As her skills evolved she was given an ultimatum to choose one of them to dedicate her heart and soul to full-time. On the spot and without hesitation she decided her fate that day so long ago.
“My mom said I could take time to think about it, but I wanted to skate,” explained Sale. “I still don’t know why to this day…I must have already had a passion at that age.”
She had the makings of a star, so noticed the local skating circles of coaches and recruiters. Her mother loved the arts and drama, while her father was an athlete and the two meshed to form the perfect combination in Sale who naturally blossomed in the glamourous sport.
By age 10 she was skating competitively around the province progressing quickly and enough to capture the attention of judges whom recommended she make the move into pair skating.
Soon her talents grew too much for the restraints of small town Alberta and Sale moved from her hometown of Red Deer to Edmonton to work with first skate partner Jason Turner. The two went on to represent Canada at the 1994 Olympics as the third back up team and came in 12th, a huge feat for a pair that young.
When asked if the Olympics had ever been on her radar, Sale said she watched the 1988 Olympics and dreamed of growing up to be like Liz Manley.
“I said to my mom, ‘I want to do what she’s doing, I want to be there one day.’ People maybe thought I was cocky, but I would walk the talk. I would always say, ‘I’m going to win.”
She carried an inborn confidence and said skating is where she felt free, most happy and even elated at times.
It was also an outlet that she used to cope with bullying she experienced from jealous female peers.
Her world was lonely for some time until she started attending school at Ross Shepard and her social life took a turn for the better. A special ceremony was even held upon her and Turner’s return from the ’94 Olympics.
“I loved it there! People were accepting and we had so many different blends of talents at Shep.”
Fast forward a few years to that moment when the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic pair skating gold winners were announced. With an awkward silence and gasp, followed by astonishment by the press and general public, to learn the top spot would be awarded to the reigning Russian team was hard to swallow for Sale and partner David Pelletier.
The two had skated clean, not perfect Sale pointed out, but it was as perfect as it could have been. The lovers possessed first-class skill and radiated tangible charisma in their performances. Whereas the Russian team had made more than one noticeable mistake.
“We knew something was up. The whole audience reacted. It was the weirdest, creepiest feeling that night in the arena.”
She remembered feeling devastated and angry that night. Thinking about the future and the implications of what the second place title would mean for their career after they had worked so hard.
The next few days were a whirlwind the likes of which the skating world had never seen.
It seemed fate had other plans indeed, as Sale and Pelletier were propelled into instant super stardom status.
In less than a week following the scandal they were flown across North America to appear on various prime time television programs like Larry King Live, Jay Leno and the Rosie O’Donnell show. The public began a love affair with the underdog duo and the pressure could no longer be ignored by the big wigs in the Olympics.
Following an investigation it was eventually revealed that there was a set-up involving paid-off insiders, corrupt judges and even mafia infiltration. By this time Sale said the pair was over it, after all they had become household names, and they had an exciting future ahead and would’ve walked away then and there.
But, to satisfy the public an official ceremony was held in Salt Lake City where the two were awarded cold, gold medals with the Russian team by their side who were allowed to keep their gold. It was a significant conquest as Canada had not received a medal in this category for 42 years.
In hindsight Sale is grateful for the experience because it brought about so much opportunity.
They realized when big sponsors like Crest White Stripes called and being on the cover of TIME and other national magazines that their lives would never be the same. They had made it. She had accomplished her childhood dreams and it was time to grasp and experience it for everything it was worth.
Touring seven months out of the year around the world became the norm for this shining duo. They seemed to have it all, success, fame and the love and passion they carried for each other was unmistakably evident.
Year after year they gave it their all and began to set their sights on a new goal of one day having a family.
They married at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in 2007 and Sale gave birth to their son Jesse in the fall of 2007.
In 2008 the pair was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of fame and in 2009 the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.
The fairytale took an unexpected turn when the marriage began to break down not long after. It was one of the most difficult periods of Sale’s life and made even more so while continuing to tour and skate together.
With the support of family and good friends it was a challenge that Sale worked through using what she knew best, via skating.
“I could see that he (Pelletier) was the only one I would ever do it with because he is to me the best men’s pair skater in the world. I felt safe with him and as much as we weren’t together anymore I felt like he was still going to take care of me out there.’”
While her heart was breaking over the downfall of the relationship she drew from within and pushed forward. She said skating through it with him empowered her, as she worked through the grieving process of ultimately saying goodbye to her two loves.
The two separated and Sale was asked to participate in the first season of CBC’s Battle of the Blades where she re-acquainted with long-time friend and hockey player Craig Simpson. The two were paired on the show and ended up becoming a support system for each other.
When the divorce finally became public the timing made it appear that Sale had had an affair with Simpson which she explained was not the case. Following the show their friendship evolved into a romance and Sale rose from her down trodden situation into one of hope and new beginnings. New beginnings that led to marriage in 2012 and a baby daughter, Samantha, born the summer of 2013.
Sale and Pelletier remain close friends and she describes him as a great father to Jesse, now seven.
While no longer skating, the demands of motherhood take up a lot of her energy, but Sale stays busy working in the wine and health industry.
She partnered with Simpson’s wine distributing business, Simmer Fine Wines that features an exquisite collection from around the world. Not a connoisseur, however Sale enjoys the taste of wine and ever a social butterfly, likes being a spokesperson for the brand.
Being an athlete Sale has always been passionate about health and fitness so finding a company that makes fresh, alternative healthy foods seemed the right fit.
Glow Juicery, based out of Edmonton is a ready-made juicing company that boasts organic, hard pressed, fresh, raw vegetables and fruits with a three-day life shelf. She was so impressed with the boost of energy and clarity felt after cleansing with the juices that she jumped on board to partner with founder/owner now turned friend, Marnie Ashcroft.
Sale said she was always intrigued with the concept of entrepreneurship and is enjoying the learning curve that comes with it.
A passionate mother and caretaker, family will continue to take priority. And for her a happy family entails having unconditional love and understanding along with good listening and communication skills.
“I want to find balance in life. If I’m happy and have a good balance in my life then I’m going to be the best mom I can be and the best wife I can be. As much as you think it would be simple to find that balance, it’s not. But I want to be a mom that raises happy, healthy, loved kids and to continue to have my relationship with my husband grow.”
Edmonton is still the home base where fun at the busy Sale/Simpson household is pretty normal involving simple walks together, playing in the yard and watching movies as a family.
Carrying the torch of best in the world and having the title of Olympic champion may be one that lives on forever, but as for skating, Sale said she doesn’t miss it.
“It’s not a sad or weird thing for me to say. I skated for so long and accomplished more than I ever thought was possible. I did it all and I’m happy to have this next stage of my life.”