There are no victims or excuses. In recent years, the Canadian Paralympic Cycling Team has been among the most successful countries. I am certainly proud to be part of this group, considering that my debut in competition was already 12 years ago! 😲 London 2012. My first Games. Coming back with a medal around my neck was certainly something totally unexpected, but a highlight. Rio 2016. An average experience, despite the excitement of being a breakaway during the road race, even if in the end I finished last. 😆 We were told that the Tokyo Games in 2020 were going to be Games that everyone would remember because the organizing committee was going to put everything out to amaze us. Mission Tokyo 2020.
So much work has been done to get to the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Milton, Ontario at the end of January 2020; physical preparation, mental preparation (especially), nutrition… Each element of the final equation was honed like a well-oiled machine. The proof, I got the best result of my entire career. The result I have been waiting for since 2009. 2009! Do the individual pursuit of 3kim in less than 4 minutes. I finally made it! BUT, because there is a BUT, it is the best who go to the Games. The best, according to a document made public, finish top 8 or top half of their category at the 2019 Road World Championships.
However, I went to the Parapan American Games in Lima, where I won the silver medal in the individual pursuit and, in all honesty, this project was probably the most beautiful of my entire career because the team was deeply united. I will always keep a beautiful memory of it. So it’s not a top 8 or top half at the 2019 Road World Championships. The best, they also finish in the top 4 of their category in the individual pursuit at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championship in 2020. I finished 6th. 4 seconds from the podium. That’s it.
For the Tokyo Games, I received the label of “non-traveling alternate”. The one who stays on the bench, in case that… What does a “non-traveling alternate” do? It does exactly the same thing as everyone who has been training tirelessly over the past 5 years, in order to be race-ready if someone were to get injured before the Games started. As I am a hockey girl, I tell myself that Carey Price sometimes has to give way to Jake Allen to replace him and he is always ready to take over. It’s exactly the same here. Being a “non-traveling alternate” doesn’t bother me at all. On the contrary, it allows me to be the first to encourage my teammates who have been selected and who will live, for some, their first Games. They know I’m there when needed and it’s a pleasure for me to answer questions, even questions about how to pack bags.
In my 12-year career so far, my performances now allow me to be proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve been able to accomplish with the help of the people around me. It’s now the turn of the next generation to shine at the Games and I’m certainly proud of the next generation in the C4! For too long I was the only one in Canada, now we are 3: me, Keely Shaw and Kate Obrien, ex-Olympian. Now, as a two-time world champion, I haven’t said my last word; I have 2 titles to defend in the 2022 season! 😎