The womens team is currently in Switzerland for a ski camp where we have been training on the glaciers at both Zermatt and Saas Fee. We have been here since July 24 and have a few more days of skiing to go. The skiing and dryland training has been great.
Both the womens national development team and senior team were here training for the first few weeks, then the senior team traveled back home to ready themselves for a speed training camp in Chile.
I stayed in Europe with the development team to get more giant slalom and slalom training, as the camp in Chile will be mostly focused on downhill and super G.
Prior to our ski camp we spent 12 solid weeks training in the gym and on our bikes. For those 12 weeks the western athletes got together for a total of four weeks in Calgary while our eastern athletes did the same in Mont Tremblant. So we have definitely come into this ski camp strong, fit and ready to put in some hard work on our skills and get our heads into racing.
Unfortunately the weather has not co-operated, and the Swiss camps have missed a few days of glacier training to rain, thunder and lightning, high winds, soft snow weve had it all.
The days we did get up on the glaciers, our training has been very good. There are also many other teams here, including the Austrians, the Italians, the Croatians, the Slovenians and the Swiss, all watching each other closely and pushing each other by their presence.
On Aug. 1 the Swiss celebrated their national holiday and we found ourselves in Zermatt for all of the excitement. The town was bustling with people and the firecrackers were going off all day long. All night, too.
Weve been waking up at 5:30 every morning for training and so have been going to bed by 9 p.m. most nights. But on Aug. 1 sleeping was impossible. In hindsight, we really should have just joined in the celebrations.
This coming alpine season, as most of you probably know, falls in an Olympic year. The Olympics will be held in Torino, Italy and already the excitement is starting to build on the team.
Since the beginning of the summer I have been training hard on and off snow, and always with the Olympics on my mind. Im sure this year its the same for all of my teammates. Some have already qualified to be in Torino come February 2006, but most of us still need to get there and are ready to sacrifice everything.
As Canadians we want to see some gold medals at the Olympics as badly as anyone. We want to see our countrymen and women standing atop the podium proudly as our nations flag flies high.
But for some Canadian amateur athletes it isnt their ability thats keeping them from the podium, its funding. Things are getting better with more federal funding and the 2010 Games just around the corner, but most athletes still depend on a combination of funding, grants, bursaries and sponsorships to be able to train and compete to get to the podium level.
One important piece of funding that was put in place specifically to support 2006 Olympic hopefuls is called the See You In Torino Fund. This fund gives athletes like me the opportunity to search out financial aid so that we can train at a high level in order to reach the Olympics. This fund was also in place for summer athletes leading up to Athens and helped many Canadians to reach their goals.
The fund is made possible through corporations that have chosen to support athletes by donating money. Each athlete must fill out an application and is chosen for the fund by a selection panel.
The money sponsored by the corporations is pooled and then given out to the winning applicants. The number of winning applicants is based on the amount of money collected from sponsors.
So I would personally like to say thank you to all of the corporate sponsors who made this fund possible and for selecting me as a funding recipient. If anyone would like to find out more information on the See You In Torino Fund please go to ( www.seeyouintorino.com/challenge.html ).
A challenge to spread the word about this fund started on Aug. 15 and will continue to Aug. 30.
Pass the word around this fund is helping amateur athletes across the country reach their dreams of standing atop the podium with gold medals around their necks, and will be a big part of our success in Torino. These same athletes will then go on to become role models Canadians need to lead our youth towards a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks for reading. I hope everyone is having a great summer and enjoying some lazy days at Whistlers wonderful lakes.
Ill be back when the 2005-06 competitive season gets underway in November.