Tag Archives: Montreal

Weekly Update #32 – The Press Conference

Thursday was the day that the team was officially announced. Even though the announcement had been leaked earlier in the week by yours truly and others on the team, it was still a big showy event.

Fancypants. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

Fancypants. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

The event started out with a few speakers from the COC. Following that, we were presented with our team jackets. It was cool way of doing the announcement.

Chef de Mission and former Canadian downhill skier Steve Podborski giving me my team jacket. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

Chef de Mission and former Canadian downhill skier Steve Podborski giving me my team jacket. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

After the jacket presentation, the photo opportunities started. We had several set photo ops to do. The first was a ‘check-in’ to the Hilton on our way to Sochi. Hilton Hotels was announced at the press conference as the official hotel supplier of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Checking in. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

Checking in. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

The second was a team shot outside. First we had to just line up, then we were supposed to ham it up for the camera. I think this one of me flexing and making a face in the back ended up in the Globe and Mail, I haven’t seen it myself, but apparently my Grandmother did and was unsurprised that I was the only one making a face…

Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

Anyways, it gave me a good idea of what its like to be on a red carpet. A LOT of camera flashes.

First group shot as a team. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

First group shot as a team. Photo from Speed Skating Canada.

For more photos, head over to https://www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC, and like Speed Skating Canada’s page.

After that, it was on to interviews. I did a TV interview for CBC North and then several telephone interviews to different media outlets at home in the Northwest Territories. I’m pretty amazed by the support that is coming from home!

I think I’m still in a bit of shock over the whole announcement of my name as one of the 10 that are nominated to the team. Racing, and hopefully winning, at the Olympics has been my goal for so many years, and I am getting so close to realizing that dream. At the same time, since I’m currently on the sidelines, I can’t help but feel like I’m not making any progress on my path towards the opening ceremonies in February. Despite what I’m trying to tell myself that everything I do now is another step toward being at my best in February, its hard to believe my own words when all I can do is very, very light workouts and rest.

Healing my head has been a patience testing process at best. My body feels amazing. Its not often that it gets this much recovery. But my head and neck are still not perfect. And so I will continue to do my best at recovering so that when its time, I can go full gas.

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Weekly Update #29 Olympic Trials

First of all, I am continuing to call this the weekly update. Why? Because its ironic. And ironic is funny. Right? Oh well.

Well, just like that here we are. Olympic trials are upon us. Tomorrow marks the start of 5 days of competition spread over the next 11 days that will determine Canada’s 2014 Olympic Short Track team.

I could get into a big song and dance about how I’ve prepared, how fast the last four years have gone etc, but I’d rather just say this. I’m ready. I’m ready to attack this set of trials like I have attacked every set of trials I have ever raced. There is nothing new here. Its just time to race.

For anyone interested in watching the competition, a full schedule can be found  here: http://www.speedskating.ca/sites/default/files/st_trials_-schedule.final_.pdf

There will also be a live webstream of the competition, link found here: http://sports.tvgo.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1935&utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=

Lastly, because everyone likes pictures, here are a couple from our training camp in Budapest and from a foggy/rainy/windy hike up Algonquin Peak near Lake Placid, New York.

Nice little waterfall part way up Algonquin Peak

Nice little waterfall part way up Algonquin Peak

On the summit. Great view!!

On the summit. Great view!!

Mideveil Feast

Medieval Feast

I got to taking pictures of people sleeping on the trip home from Budapest...

I got to taking pictures of people sleeping on the trip home from Budapest…

...thought I was pretty clever...

…thought I was pretty clever…

..but Courtney caught me.

..but Courtney caught me.

As always, thanks to my awesome sponsors SSi Micro, Tait Communications (look for a new website soon!) and the Government of the NWT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update #21 Christmas and Trials

Coming up this week is our Canadian Championships. They are being held here in Montreal, which is nice for us Montreal based skaters since sleeping in your own bed and competing on your home ice is always a nice comfort. The Canadian Championships are also the selection competition for the last two World Cups in Sochi, Russia and Dresden, Germany as well as the World Champs in Debrecen, Hungary.

For me, this week will be all about refining a few specific things that I have been working on and focusing on relaxing and gearing up to hopefully have some good performances on the weekend.

To end this blog off, check out a couple pictures from my short Christmas trip to Canmore. Because travel to Yellowknife from Montreal takes at least a whole day each way, our family decided to meet part-way in between the two, in Canmore, and easy choice and pretty awesome place all around. I took advantage to get in some mountain time, one day of snowshoeing and anther of hiking.

Group shot at our destination for the day, Rummel Lake.

Group shot at our destination for the day, Rummel Lake.

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There hadn't been many people up the trail since a recent snowfall, which made for some good bushwacking powder adventures

There hadn’t been many people up the trail since a recent snowfall, which made for some good bushwacking powder adventures

The beautiful Spray Valley. The day started out cloudy and cold, but the sun came through just as we started out.

The beautiful Spray Valley. The day started out cloudy and cold, but the sun came through just as we started out.

If you are in Montreal and want to come out and watch this weekend, come on out! Racing starts a 2pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am on Sunday.

Weekly Update #14 World Cup Recap

The first block of World Cups is now done. Sunday, we finished up two weekends of World Cup action in Canada, and it was a great two weekends for several reasons.

First of all it was great because I had some good early season results. The first weekend in Calgary I had a 2nd place in the 1000m to go with m DQ in the 1500m (oops!). Being on the podium in the first weekend of racing was a good feeling, especially since it was my first international race since December of 2011 due to my fractured shoulder. I was quite satisfied with the final especially, as I was among some pretty heavy company. All three of the other skaters in my race had been World Champion at one point. In fact, those three guys have 8 World Championships between them.

From a team perspective, our relay team, me included, went out and beat the World Record on the first day of competition. We always target the relay and it was awesome to get the record back from the Koreans. Unfortunately I fell in the final, which put a bit of a dampen on our spirits, but we were happy to have taken the record and are looking forward to receiving our Brothers of the Wind World Record rings!

I also had good individual results this past weekend here in Montreal. I managed to make the A final for both distances that I skated, which I believe is a first for me. I ended up coming away with a 2nd in the 500 and a 5th in the 1500. I think the highlight of those two races was the fact that the hard work and time I have been investing in my starts from day one of this season is paying off. It was special to be on the podium with my good friend and long time teammate Liam Mcfarlane. We’ve been training together since 2005 and have been through a lot in skating together.

So far this season I have been in an A final in every distance. Consistency is one thing that the best skaters in the world have and I hope that I can keep that consistency across all distances going.

The second thing that made these two weekends great was racing at home. And by home I mean where I always train or have trained (as is the case for Calgary). Don’t worry, Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories will always be my home! I was literally floating the entire week we were in Calgary. I love going back there. Its so much fun to walk the Oval and say hi to literally every second person. Seeing so many athletes from different places and sports all in the same place, all pushing their limits and striving to be the best is what makes the Oval a special place to train.

It also felt like home because I had so many people that came out to cheer me on. I don’t think I’ve ever had my own cheering section, but on the sunday I did. Thanks to my parents and sister, Keith, Sarah, Thompy, Brendan and Rosanna, Linda and Blair, Jim and Jo-ann, Dan and Tara, Shane, Karin and Hannah, Laini and Emily, Ben, Fran and anyone I’m forgetting for coming out. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it up to the stands to say hi to all of you!

Montreal was almost the same too. Our Canadian team took advantage of tough ice conditions that we know so well to achieve 12 podium performances, which is a record haul for us! Again, we had great crowd support, me included. My Dad made the trip out and I had Jess, Michele and Kirstin in my corner all week! It was pretty interesting waking up in your own bed and heading to the same rink I go to everyday, only to find out that a World Cup was taking place.

This post is getting a little long, but I can’t finish without a shout out to the Olympic Oval ice makers. Those guys are absolute masters of their art. The ice in Calgary was unbelievably fast this weekend and they have the World records to prove it. Its the fastest ice in the world and the Short Track record books were rewritten. Thanks guys, you’re doing a great job!

Thanks to Oakley Canada for the new glasses and to our team sponsor Auclair for the new gloves!

We recently installed new contrast bathes at our training center. Our team sponsor Intact decided to give us new bath robes to celebrate. Thank Intact, #1 sponsor of speedskating in Canada

I’ve posted a few of my race videos from the past two weeks in the video tab above, so take a week if you’d like!

Weekly Update #13 World Cups in Canada!

We travelled last night to Calgary for the second time already this season. Reason? World Cup #1. Its been nearly 10 years since Calgary has hosted a World Cup, and I’ve been looking forward to this competition a lot ever since word came out that Calgary would be hosting. I doubt I’ll ever have the experience of having a world cup at my home rink in Yellowknife, so this is about as close as it gets for me, and its pretty exciting.

The last few weeks of training have been all about refining and tweaking our training slightly in preparation for this set of competitions (there is also a World Cup in Montreal in two weeks). Overall, the past few weeks have gone really well, and I’m feeling good about my fitness for the start of another World Cup season.

This morning I headed down to breakfast and ended up sitting with the dutch team since I was the first from our team to arrive. Its been 8 months since I was last on the world cup, and this was one thing I missed the most. As we travel to each world cup, we tend to see the same people over and over. Its a bit of a traveling circus, and everybody gets to know each other. Its a fun vibe and one of the best parts of competing on the World Cup circuit.

If you are in Calgary, or Montreal, come out and watch. There is no hockey this year, so why not check out something new and exciting!

In Calgary, you can get your tickets at: http://oval.ucalgary.ca/stwc

For Montreal, check out: http://www.coupedumonde2012.ca/

Hope to see you there, bring your flags, noisemakers and wear red!