This morning I headed over to Churchill Alternative School to do a presentation to the kids about my journey to the Olympics this year. I went to Churchill for grades 1-6 and so walking back in there now as a 20 year old brought back a lot of good memories. I started with explaining what all my equipment was and what it did. All the kids were intrigued by how light my kayak is! Some of them got a chance to pick it up to see for themselves!
I also showed them two of my race run videos. The first video was my first run on day 2 of the race. This run was special to me because it was where I made a big mistake and ended up missing a gate. Instead of giving up or just cruising down the rest of the course, I went back to loop for the gate and finished off the other half the course with better paddling that I was even able to do on the last run which won me the Olympic spot. I wanted to share this with the kids because it was a moment that I am incredibly proud of how I reacted by never giving up.
The second video I shared with the kids was the fourth and final run of the team trials where I qualified the Olympic spot. I explained to them how nervous I was watching all the other guys come down the course one by one and then watching my name stay at the top of the list. I shared the incredible feeling of being surrounded by friends and family while being hoisted into the air as I found out I had won the spot. I explained about how amazing the other competitors, my teammates and friends, were after not winning the spot and the unbelievable degree of sportsmanship they showed.
The kids had great questions about paddling, training and racing which I loved answering. We finally had to stop the question period as the kids needed to head back to class!
A huge thank you to Tiiu, my grade six teacher, for organizing the presentation and to Churchill for having me in to speak.