Wainman burst onto the skating scene in 1978, at the age of 10, when she won the long program in the Novice ladies division at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Victoria, BC, and finished 4th overall, climbing from 8th or 9th in figures. She appeared on the front page of The Globe and Mail sports section, and was chosen to represent Canada at the 1978 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Megeve, France. The CFSA were impressed with her powerful stroking, soft knees, speed and sparkle: she skated with the maturity of a senior woman, yet was only 4ft tall. One reporter wrote that her double axel was “shaky”, and that she was working on a triple salchow. Articles appeared in The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. One journalist wrote something like, “She’s short and sassy, but only time will tell if she’s the next Dorothy Hamill.”
In March, at the 1978 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Wainman finished 6th. Her placements, from memory, were 14th in figures, and 5th in the short and long programs. The competition was won by Jill Sawyer of the United States (a big junior star who was one of the first female skaters to land a triple lutz), the silver medalist was Russia’s Kira Ivanova, who would go on to win the Olympic bronze medal in Sarajevo in 1984 and silver at the 1985 Worlds in Tokyo. Kevin Marshall, a British men’s skater who competed at this event, once told me that Wainman was the first skater he ever saw do a double lutz-double lutz sequence.