Hi! My name is Caroline Ehrhardt. I am a 22 year old triple jumper from Espanola, Ontario. I have won the Canadian national track and field championships in triple jump the past four consecutive years, and I am shooting for big things in 2015!
My goal for 2015 is to compete in the Pan Am Games in Toronto. To make this team, I must jump the team standard of 13.30m – a mere 24cm further than my best ever jump. I feel as though competing at the games is a vital step towards my ultimate goal – being the first female to represent Canada in triple jump at the Olympics.
As I make my assault on these 24 centimeters keeping me from the Pan Am Games, I could really use your help. Training up to 4 hours per day, competing on the road nearly every weekend, while also attending university is extremely tough. It is nearly impossible for me to work to support myself. My athletic expenses for this season will be $6000. This coupled with my tuition fees and basic living expenses results in a lot of financial stress. A large majority of my expenses comes from the cost of attending training camps. Being a summer-sport athlete in a predominately winter country is incredibly difficult. From October until April I train on an 4-laned, indoor track that encircles a hockey rink. Having the opportunity to train outdoors in the southern U.S. is helpful in that it allows me increase my training load without risking injury – something that is always difficult to manage while training in literally freezing conditions. It is also beneficial because it allows me to practice in the same conditions that I will be competing in. This past April I had the opportunity to train in California for a two week period and went on to have my most successful season yet, jumping a lifetime best and winning the Canadian national championships. Here is a breakdown of my expenses for the 2015 track and field season:
-travel and accommodation for 7-day training camp in Florida (winter): $1500
-travel and accommodation for 7-day training camp in Florida (spring): $1500
-travel and accommodation for the Canadian track and field championships in Edmonton: $1000
-travel and accommodation for various in-country competitions: $500
-running shoes and jumping spikes: $500
-therapy expenses (physiotherapy, massage): $500
-London Western Track Club team fee: $300
-Western University team fee: $200
To show my appreciation for your support, I am offering a number of different givebacks. Thanks to my generous friends at Jatt Sports, I am excited to offer TEAM EHRBORNE t-shirts to anyone who donates $100 or more towards my campaign. Additionally, there are a number of other givebacks that I encourage you to check out on the right of this page. These donations include signed pictures, original artwork, and even 2 tickets to watch triple jump at the Pan Am Games. Donations are not the only way that you can help me. By sharing my fundraising page, you are potentially putting me in contact with someone else who can donate. What’s more is, you’d be helping me get my story out there so I can help inspire others who may be chasing their own dreams.
I was fortunate to realize my dream early in life. When I was in the second grade, my class was going on a field trip to the science center on the same day as our school's track and field day. When I learned of the conflict, I was not happy. This is odd, because before this I had never even done track and field before. It could very well be that I absolutely hated science, but either way, I really wanted to stay behind from the trip and participate in track and field day. When I explained my predicament to my parents, they assured me they would sort something out with my teacher. Sure enough, the next day as my classmates were happily learning about gravity at the science center, I was about to test it out myself as I stood on the runway about to jump for the first time in my life. “Jump as far as you can into the sand”, explained a teacher. I sprinted down the runway and catapulted myself into the air. I haven’t looked back, or down, since.
My love for the sport flourished from there. My parents signed me up for my first track and field club when I was in the fifth grade. A couple weeks after starting with the track club in February of 2003, my family suffered a devastating loss as my mother's nine year battle with breast cancer came to an end. Through it all, my dad made sure I never missed a track practice and continued to drive the one hour to get me there three times a week. Having the opportunity to practice what I loved each week provided me with an outlet that I desperately needed as I struggled emotionally. Sometimes I wonder what different routes my life might have taken had I not been involved in something I was so passionate about. No matter where this sport takes me, it will always have a special place in my heart because of the role that it played for me during that difficult time in my life.
I stuck with the sport, worked hard, and have had an amazing journey so far. In high school, I won six OFSAA (Ontario high school) gold medals and twice broke the Canadian interscholastic record. In the twelfth grade, I was ecstatic to accept a full-ride athletic scholarship from the University of Oklahoma. I knew that if I wanted to be the best, I had to jump against the best, and that meant competing in the NCAA. A few weeks before I was set to move to Oklahoma, the coach that had recruited me quit his job. With the coach being the main reason I chose the school, I knew that Oklahoma was no longer the right choice for me. With just a few weeks before classes started in September, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Reluctantly, I decided to stay in Canada and go to Western University. Amazingly, my last minute (literally) change of plans worked out for me, as I am still here in London working towards my goals. Since enrolling at Western, I have won two bronze medals for Canada at the Pan Am Junior Championships. Additionally, I have won the Canadian university championships the past 3 consecutive years and have twice been named the Ontario University field athlete of the year. Recently, I was honored at Rideau Hall by Governor General David Johnston as I was named a Top 8 Academic All-Canadian. Undoubtedly, I am thrilled to have ended up at Western and I am excited to graduate in just a few short months.
I am extremely passionate about what I do. I wake up every morning knowing how incredibly blessed I am to have the opportunity to do what I love each and every day. This genuine love that I have for the sport fuels me through the many trials and tribulations that I encounter. Some days it feels like I'm so close to my goals, other days I couldn't feel further away - but always, it feels right. It feels like I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. I have worked incredibly hard to have gotten where I am today, but I still can't help but feel lucky. I thank my grade-two self every day for staying back from that field trip to the science center and realizing what I loved so early on.
I always try to take everything one centimeter at a time. One dollar at a time, you can help this small town girl see her Olympic aspirations through. Please help me as I make this giant leap towards my dreams.
TO LEARN MORE, PLEASE VISIT WWW.CAROLINEEHRHARDT.COM