At last, the long-anticipated Olympic and U23 World Championship Trials races are over. Right now, I’m sitting by the window seat at the Stewart-Jones house in Chelsea, Quebec, relaxing and catching up on some much-needed rest after the whirlwind of racing.
Trials finished two days ago, so without further ado, here is the good news and the bad news.
First, the bad news: I did not meet the selection criteria to qualify for Team Canada for the 2018 Winter Olympics. It was a very tight battle, where I narrowly missed getting selected for both the sprint and distance spots, but despite pushing as hard as I absolutely could in every race, unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. Although the full team won’t be announced until late January, at the moment Canada is only sending 4 women to compete in cross-country skiing, and I am not one of them.
It’s hard to describe the disappointment and heartbreak of having worked so hard towards a goal for so many years, and then not achieving it. I wanted to represent my hometown Athabasca at the Olympics, to show that achieving your dreams is possible no matter where you come from. I wanted to show that athletes can come back from serious injuries and still achieve their goals. Becoming an Olympian has been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old, and although I know I will get another chance to try again in four years, right now that seems like a long time from now.
However, I know that I gave absolutely everything I had to give in these selection races and had some of my best performances in many years. There was an incredible amount of pressure heading into these races, and I’m really happy that I was able to perform on demand over and over again. I did everything I could to achieve my goal, although it will take time for the disappointment to go away, I am proud of my efforts and have no regrets. The career of a cross-country skier is a long one; I know that to achieve my goals in the long term, I will need to learn from this and keep working hard year after year, and eventually the results will come.
Now, the good news: I have qualified to compete for Canada at the 2018 World U23 Championships in Switzerland! This is my last year competing as a U23 athlete, and these championships also feature two of my favourite types of races: a skate sprint and a 10km classic individual start. I can’t wait to put on my red and white suit and compete for Canada!
I’ll be leaving on Sunday with the rest of the Canadian World Junior/U23 Team to attend a short training camp in France prior to heading to Switzerland for the Championships. After that, I’ll be staying in central Europe for the rest of February to gain more international racing experience at a Swiss Cup, an OPA Cup, and at German National Championships.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has supported me on this journey so far. To my family, friends, coaches, sponsors, and support staff– thank you. I would not have come this far without you, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in skiing holds!
My next blog post will be after U23 World Championships in early February, so until then, happy skiing!