When I was 9 years old, I was watching the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. It was my first encounter with the Olympics, but I instantly realized I wanted to be like the athletes I was watching one day. At that time, I was playing competitive hockey, so naturally I thought I was going to be on the Team Canada hockey team. When I was 14, I discovered Cheema Aquatic Club in Waverley, NS. It was an old yellow airplane hanger on Lake Thomas. Little did I know, but this not so glamorous shed housed boats for some of Canada’s best Olympic athletes and would also become my opportunity to achieve that Olympic dream I had when I was 9 years old.
Since I started the sport of sprint kayak in 2000, I’ve had my share of successes and upsets. In 2006 I made the National Team for the first time when I was only 16 and then in 2007 I won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in the K-2 500m. I also went on to race at the World Championships and World Cups over the last 5 years. In 2012, I narrowly missed out on my chance to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London when I came second in the K-2 200m at the Canadian Olympic Trials. After putting in so many years of hard work and sacrifices to narrowly miss out on my Olympic dream by less than a second, I questioned if it was worth it to keep going. After about a year or so of re evaluating my life and determining if pursuing my Olympic dream was still something worth going for, I decided I still had that burning passion to represent Canada one day. So I decided to change things up, and switch from the 200m, which I had been training and racing for the last 3 years, back to the 1000m. The transition was tough, going from a 36 second all out effort to a 3 minute 36 second all out effort take the body some time to adjust too. The season (2013) started off slow for me but ended off with some of my best results ever at the Canadian National Championships. Despite some great results at the end of the summer, one of the risks I knew I was taking by switching distances was sacrificing my Sport Canada funding for this season. That funding equals $18,000, which is the same amount of funding the rest of the team is receiving this year. With that funding, I will it use it to cover my training, equipment, and competition costs. For training, it includes two months in Florida during the winter months to prepare for the first race of the season in April and World Cups in May. It will cover my travel, accommodations, and fees associated with competing at our two sets of National Team Trials and National Championships. It will go towards covering my club, coaching, and training fees. It will also go towards basic living expenses. I hope you believe in me, and my dream to represent Canada at the Olympics on day. Hopefully in return, I can inspire you to achieve your dreams! Thank you. [gallery]