As we get closer and closer to the Olympics I find myself running into the question: “Are you excited for the Olympics!?!” The knee jerk response is of course yes, I am excited. But if I’m being honest the only time I am really rested enough to ponder the future and consider the grandeur of the Games is right now -a Sunday afternoon (Sundays are our only day off). Our coach, Mike Spracklen, is keeping us focused on each and every session with a very demanding program as we leave no stone unturned in finding more speed. I am thankful that I put in the punishing miles on the lake this last year. I don’t think my body could endure the current intensity otherwise. So, the honest answer to the question: “Are you excited for the Olympics” is that I am not really thinking about it too often.
This is always how it has been since shortly after I started in this sport. I remember sitting in my condo back in 2009 and thinking for the first time that I could really do it; I could really make it to the Olympics if I went for it. That is the last time I remember being truly excited, with goosebumps even, thinking about the Olympics. This was after an erg test in the winter that I thought indicated I had some real potential (6:04 on the 2k -not very impressive now, but a momentum-booster for me at the time). I was so excited I even called both my sisters to tell them that I thought I could get to the Olympics.
Shortly after this epiphany, this new goal became my burden and would stay that way until this very day. I wear the stress better now, but it truly has been a struggle -more than I ever imagined- to get to the doorstep of the Games. Looking back, I basically took a set-and-forget approach. I set the goal in my mind that winter in 2009 and then quickly became focused on just getting to the next stroke, next training run, next practice and never further than that. It’s still that way for me. I’m just trying to get through the day and I’m sure if you asked any of my teammates they’d tell you the same thing. The work keeps you firmly in the present. There will be plenty of time for reflection after the Games. We are doing everything we can now to make sure looking back will bring great memories and pride in having represented Canada well.