2010 Vancouver Olympics

2010 Vancouver Olympics
Welcome! It is here I hope to keep all of my sponsors and supporters up to date about my everyday life as a full time Biathlete. I will post regular updates about how my training and race season is progressing, which will hopefully provide a little insight as to exactly what my life is all about. With the Sochi 2014 Olympics fast approaching, I invite you to join me on my journey as I pursue my dreams...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vancouver to Russia... Back from the blogging abyss!

Well, it's been over a year since my last post, and in the past year way too much has happened for me to write about now. I wish I was more on the ball with blogging because a lot of exciting things have happened over the last little while and if I tried to write everything, this post would go on forever! Therefore, I've decided to do a quick summary of the past year mainly in the form of pictures. Below are just a few of the bigger highlights to bring you all somewhat up to date on my life during the last little while. Enjoy!

It's official, NWT's first Olympian in 26 years!...

Shortly after my last post about my racing experience in Antholz, Italy, the Olympic team for biathlon was officially announced, and I had qualified for the team!!! I had known I had made the team shortly after Christmas, but I wanted to keep it on the down low until the news was officially released to the media. During the announcement I was at a training camp in a very small and sleepy village in Germany. I didn't have a telephone in my room and the nearest internet was a 5min walk from our hotel. Over the next week every time I logged on to my email my inbox was swamped with new messages. I tried my best to keep up with responses and requests, but in the end it was becoming too stressful and given my limited resources I decided my computer had to take a back seat so I could focus on what lay ahead!

First IBU Cup win in Martell, Italy!...

Instead of heading back to Canada after the World Cup in Atholz, I stayed on in Europe for an extra three weeks with a few other members of my team to prepare for the Olympics. This way I would be able to get in good training away from the hype of Vancouver, and also get the opportunity to race in some higher level competitions as pre Olympic preparation. I was able to keep my form from Antholz and had an amazing two weeks of racing where I picked up a win in my last race series before the Olympics at the IBU Cup #7 in Martell, Italy. I was very pleased with my results as this meant I was in good form heading into Vancouver!


After three weeks of training and racing in Europe, I had 5 days back in Canmore before flying to Vancouver and settling in at the athlete's village in Whistler. A few days later and I was racing in front of a home crowd in my Olympic debut (our relay team finished in 10th). The whole Olympic experience was totally unreal. Seeing so many Canadians united over sport was something special and the vibe in Whistler and Vancouver was incredible. For those of you who don't know, I am the youngest in a large family, and to make my Olympic experience extra memorable, my whole family was able to be in attendance for my race. It meant a lot to have them all in the stands cheering me on, and I am great-full for all of their support throughout my career. The weather was absolutely miserable with heavy wet snow falling from the sky, but they were troopers and hung around for at least an hour after my race, even though they were freezing and soaking wet, so that I could have a short visit with everyone before I had to head back to the village. Getting to compete at a home Olympics is a once in lifetime opportunity and was an experience that I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who helped me in turning this dream into a reality!

Pep Rally & Green Day!...

One of the bonuses of being raised in a small community is that you are able to form a direct relationship with community members, many of whom then become directly tied with your achievements and dreams. Whether it be teachers, neighbors, or old coaches, people want you to succeed and will go to great lengths to help you do so. This is one of the reasons I love Hay River so much. While making final preparations in Europe I was informed over email that the town would be having a pep rally to honor my achievement as well as the cultural delegates and youth ambassadors that would also be in attendance at the Olympics. All of the schools packed the arena full and an entertaining afternoon was had with musical performances, appearances from the ambassadors, and even a special video. A Smart car was also unveiled that was decorated with my picture and driven around town during the Olympics. I was blown away by the support and camaraderie. I wish I could have been there!

I thought the pep rally was an amazing and very kind gesture from the town, but to take things to another level, February 26th in Hay River was officially declared “Green Day”!!! People took part by wearing green while watching my race! Schools watched the race in gymnasiums and the local movie theatre broadcasted the race on large screen! Even the Inukshuk, the town icon outside Town Hall was dressed in support wearing a green shirt with Olympic rings! It’s tough to describe what it felt like to have such amazing support from my hometown and Territory, but I can say that it was an incredible feeling and I’m sure there were few Canadian athletes, if any, that had the same support I did. I feel fortunate to be from the North and am proud that I could represent Hay River and the North on the World stage! Thanks to all those who took part in these events and showed such amazing support!

Time for some rest & recovery... Almost!

After the closing ceremonies at the Olympics in Vancouver, it was straight back to Canmore to race in the Canadian Championships two days later. I was feeling absolutely exhausted and was fighting a bit of cold but had to race anyway in order to qualify for the next World Cup tour. My season wasn't over yet. The last event of the season for most other sports was the Olympics, but for biathlon we still had three World Cups left before our season would come to an end. I raced well enough to qualify, I think I finished in second and third and less than a week after arriving back in Canmore from Vancouver, I was on a plane again to Europe to finish off the season with World Cups in Finland, Norway, and Russia. Needless to say when I finished the tour I was spent and needed some rest. My girlfriend Rosanna and I decided to take a well deserved vacation and spent a week relaxing in Maui in April after a long season on the road!

A busy Spring...

After returning from a week in Hawaii it was back to Canmore for one night, only to unpack and repack before jumping on a plane again, this time headed for Ottawa and Montreal. Canada's 2010 Olympians were brought together for a series of events to celebrate Canada's success at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Celebrations started with a "Government of Canada Tribute to the Athletes" which included a visit to the House of Commons and a reception on Parliament Hill where athletes had a chance to visit with MP's and meet the Prime Minister. From Ottawa VIA Rail provided transport to Montreal where Athletes took part in an Olympic Parade hosted by the city of Montreal and the Government of Canada in which an estimated 100,000 people took part. The parade was followed in the evening by a Hall of Fame Galla and Red Carpet event which honoured this years inductees into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. The Olympians took part in the Galla and enjoyed many of Canada's top performing artists during what was an unforgettable evening. The events were a huge success and were a great opportunity to bring Canada's 2010 Olympians back to together to celebrate the achievements of the games.

Finally home!...

During the beginning of June I was able to make it home to Hay River for a quick visit. This was my first time home since the Olympics and it did not disappoint! My visit included taking part in the Territorial Track & Field Championships which are held in Hay River every spring with over 1000 athletes taking part from schools all over the North. I decided to race in the 5000m event and despite not being in the greatest running shape I managed to run the race in a decent time and only 1 second off of the Territorial record! I was guest speaker during the opening ceremonies and also had the honor of carrying the torch into the arena and lighting the cauldron. I knew there would be some hype around me attending the event, but I was absolutely blown away by the reception I got when I carried the torch into the arena. A short video was played with clips from my childhood progressing throughout my career as an athlete to hype the kids up, and then when I stepped into the rink with the torch I was instantly swamped by hundreds of screaming kids all trying to get as close to me as possible! After some help from volunteers clearing a path for me I eventually was able to make my way up to the stage minutes later, without any kids clinging to my arms! The reception was amazing, more than anything I could have expected, and being able to be a role model to these kids, even if it was only for the few days the meet lasted, was a truly awesome feeling! After the Track & Field meet I was able to do short two day training camp over the weekend with the NWT biathlon team where we were able to work on the fundamentals of shooting and roller skiing. I also had the opportunity to quickly visit with a couple of classes during my visit. The week went by way too fast, but it was great to see my family again and eat my Mum's home cooked meals... I experienced quite the homecoming! What can I say... being from the North is awesome! (Pictured above: Outside Wesclean with Brad Mapes, visiting Harry Camsell School, roller skiing with the biathlon team. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures to share from the Track & Field Meet).


Training over the rest of the Spring and Summer went as planned without too much excitement. I had a few illnesses and a kind of painful and unpleasant shoulder injury, but other than that training was smooth. The pictures above are from a training camp in Europe. Once again this Fall after roller ski trials I made the trip to Austria for a three week training camp on the Dachstein glacier in the town of Ramsau. The ski conditions and altitude are ideal for the type of training we are trying to accomplish at this time of the season. Highlights from this training camp, other than being able to ski long hours in October were
experiencing Oktoberfest in Munich (which was nuts!), and having the opportunity to take part in some testing at the University of Salzburg. They were doing a research project at the University using force plate analysis and pressure mapping to see the trends of elite shooters. The set up used was pretty slick and the feedback we received was both interesting and useful.

World Cup Season…

I left Canada on November 20th to Scandinavia for a short training camp before officially kicking off the World Cup season in Ostersund, Sweden. From there it was off to Austria and then Slovenia for two more World Cups before taking a short break over Christmas. This year the team decided to spend Christmas in Europe to avoid the jetlag of returning to Canada for Christmas only to fly back again two weeks later. Rosanna and I spent three days relaxing and recharging in Venice before returning to meet up with the rest of the team to resume training again. Venice was great, we were able to escape winter and forget about biathlon for a few days. From our training camp in Italy we drove to Oberhof, Germany, for World Cup #4 and then to Ruhpolding, Germany, for World Cup #5. The team skipped World Cup #6 in Italy to instead head back to Canada to rest and train before racing two more World Cups in Maine, USA.

From Maine it was back to Europe to acclimatize and train for a week in Dobbiaco, Italy before flying on a charter to the Siberian city of Khanty Mansyisk for this years World Championships.

So far my season has been going quite well. My shooting percentages have been on the rise, I’ve scored more World Cup points than I ever have, and I’ve turned in some solid performances with the highlight of qualifying for the Mass Start race at World Cup #4 at the biathlon crazy venue in Oberhof.

At the moment I am in Russia making final preparations before my first race on Saturday. Conditions will be challenging but I am optimistic that I will be able to perform well at these Championships and meet my expectations. More to follow on my racing and experiences in Russia soon!