I've always wanted to be an Olympian, it just took me 3 countries and 3 sports to figure out how to do it.
My childhood took place all over the globe: I was born in Ontario, resided in the US, Zambia, and eventually settled on Canada's west coast, all while travelling to the surrounding countries with my incredible parents and wonderful older sister. It was us, our family of four, against the world.
Growing up I identified as an athlete. It was the surest way to have a group of friends no matter what city I was living in. It all began with me chasing my sister around, wanting to copy everything she did. The trouble? She was naturally gifted at whatever she did, and in all honesty, I'm stubborn, I thrive on obstacles, and this only fuelled my competitiveness and drive to excel. As a result, I became successful at whatever sport I focussed on, while my sister selflessly stepped back and allowed me have full reign as "the athlete" of the family.
Both my parents have been an integral part of my athletic success: my Dad as a training partner in any discipline, and my Mom as the best (and loudest) cheerleader the world has ever seen. Without them I wouldn't have the self belief required to achieve my loftiest goals.
I have had three loves in sport: swimming; soccer; and running. The moment I could swim competitively, I dove, at the opportunity. I trained with my school team in Zambia, did additional practices, and swam at home. At six years old I was dreaming of swimming for Zambia at the Olympics. Fast forward seven years, and my 13 year old self had traded my swimsuit for a beautiful pair of leather Adidas soccer cleats. Wanting to emulate my Dad's soccer success, I changed goals to focus on playing for a university team, and compete for Canada in the Olympics. Having more success in soccer than swimming, I was still nowhere near being the most gifted player on the field. At 16, I ruptured my ACL, MCL and meniscal cartilage in my knee and required surgery to reconstruct the ligament damage. Skip over a couple years of sub-par performances on the field, at 18 I took a road less travelled and was convinced to race a local half marathon. It was the spark that lit the flame. Now at 24, the passion, athletic success and personal fulfillment I have experienced is unparalleled to even my wildest dreams.
It all began with a spirited 6 year old girl dreaming of swimming for Zambia, to a university level competitive soccer player envisioning playing for Canada, to a present sense of pride knowing I've finally found my niche in the marathon. Through all the challenges and the hard won triumphs, the unifying dream is still the same: I want to be an Olympian.