It only took me 10 years training as a gymnast and another 10 years of training for the sport cycling for my dream to come true – I am going to the London 2012 Olympic Games baby!!
The past two years we have been traveling the world and gathering points to qualify our country for the Olympics in the Women’s Team Pursuit. Mission accomplished. Next on the to-do list was for Cycling Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee to pick which 4 out of the 5 “short listed” riders will comprise the team at the Games. Our Olympic Trials held on June 11-12 were very competitive as we have one of the best team pursuit teams in the world now.
I went home after the trials (for a record 43 hours) to unwind and be with loved one’s when I received the news, good or bad. In the end, I was riding the Vancouver bus #160 when I was called. I wanted to hug the homeless man beside me but instead I just sat there with the biggest smile I have ever smiled. #160 will always hold a special place in my heart.
The track cycling team consists of Tara Whitten, Zach Bell, Jasmin Glaesser, Gillian Carleton, Joseph Veloce, Monique Sullivan and me! For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cycling Canada only qualified for 2 events and had 3 riders competing in track cycling. This year, we have qualified in 6 events and will have 7 cyclists at the Games! And not to mention we have very real medal hopes in 3 of the events. It is also an exciting time for Cycling in Canada across all disciplines. Stayed tuned for Olympic nominations from the remaining disciplines. It feels special to be a part of this shift from barely filling quotas to a competitive cycling nation. The goal of Cycling Canada? To celebrate enhanced international success, increase national participation and host world class events by 2020. I feel we are well on our way in achieving this. Let’s keep the ball rolling…err I mean, wheels turning!
I hope I inspire the next generation of riders to dream big and for them have the support and means necessary to fulfill such dreams. When I was a junior, I had the passion, the talent and I wanted to go to the Olympics. After competing in the Junior World Championships, I was told “to get faster and then we’ll talk.” I hope none of our youth and development riders have to hear that and/or wander throughout their junior and U23 years not knowing what to do or where to go to achieve their goals.
I could not have made the London 2012 Canadian Olympic team if it weren’t for many, many people. This journey has been far from easy and never alone. I would like to first and foremost thank my parents for appreciating the value of sport, always getting me involved, their limitless support, and for signing me up for my first cycling camp. I would also like to thank all my family and friends who have loved and supported me no matter what. My boyfriend, Tim, for supporting and accepting me and my dream no matter how far-away I am. All my teammates over the years because it is the people that make this sport special and I love it because I love you. Specifically, Steph Roorda, a founding member of Canada’s Women’s Team Pursuit, thank-you for being my best friend and my best teammate over the years. Ed for taking me to that crazy spin class as a gymnast and then convincing me I should try cycling. Dan Proulx for seeing something in me as a 14 year old and getting me on my first track bike. All of the Olympic Oval cycling coaches and staff who got my hooked on cycling. Jeremy Storie for showing me what it really means to suffer on the bike, for convincing me to do the team pursuit in 2008, and for coaching and guiding the Women’s Team Pursuit during its infant years (this man is arguably responsible for 4/5 Olympic team short listed riders!). Richard Wooles for rebooting our track cycling program and giving us the means, ways, and inspiration to reach our potential. Tanya Dubnicoff for taking me to first international cycling race as a junior and now for coaching and developing the Canadians Women’s Team Pursuit into one of the best in the world. The CBLT, the BVC, and Velo Sports Centre for giving me a place to ride. John Evans for absolutely everything because this guy does do everything – he is the quintessential “Jack of all trades.” Dr. Jenn Turner for always fixing me – you are awesome! Thank-you Mike Patton, Doc Smith, Barry Lyster and the Local Ride Bike Shop/Dr. Vie Superfoods+, Nancy Scholz, Kirsten Barnes, Sandy Gilchrist, Steve Sleep, Dr. Janet McKeown, Susan Boegman, Andrea Wooles, and Adam Duvendeck, AthletesCAN, CAN Fund, and all my sponsors! An extended thank-you everyone else involved within Cycling Canada, our Canadian Sport Centres, Sport Canada, and Own the Podium for supporting development and high performance athletes.
This is starting to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech run-on! But I mean it. Thank-you ALL from the bottom of my heart.
38 days and counting…
Put the pedal to the medal!