• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • The Countdown is On

      March 5, 2018

      Now that the Paralympic Test Event, also known as the Olympics; has come to a close, the flame extinguished, the attention switches to the main event. Though the purity of sport should not have to deal with the dark shadow that is politics; sport cannot escape because every bright light casts a shadow. That said, Sport has the ability and the power to change the World. A World at play is a far better one then one at war. For better or worse the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea was shrouded by several political topics. Sports’ ability to overcome allowed the true beauty of the Games come through once again, as it should!

      Throughout the Games, there were countless moments that need to be celebrated. Moments that need to be remembered. Moments that may seem to be a failure but will drive future success, perhaps even legends. Moments that united a country. Moments that will inspire future generations to come. Moments that test character. Moments that show not always does the favorite succeed, where a dark horse or even an unknown- triumphs. We wait four years between Olympic Games and an athlete gets only a moment to make their mark. The Olympics are a collection of moments that define the human spirit. Showcasing many of the characteristics that we should all emulate.

      It was thrilling to watch Team Canada excel like never before at the Olympic Games. What I believe shows greater success is that many of Canada’s medals were not always from the favorites; the household names. A new generation of athletes and sports stood up to be recognized. The performance of Short Track legends came more from their leadership as the next generation edged their way forward to take center stage. As Canadian lugers, who have faced every obstacle in sport, but refused to give up. Past trials only made them stronger, and in Korea, they were rewarded for all their hard work. They finally earned the medals they deserved. Sometimes a new approach, or a new country, allows talent to blossomed like never before as shown in Speed Skating. Several Freestyle athletes showed us such composure on their way to an Olympic title or medal; one can only dream to possess such ability.

      Not all the greatest moments in Korea were Canadian ones. A Czech Snowboarder’s sheer athletic ability stunned the World as she won gold in both Alpine and Snowboard. The Queen of Nordic added to her crown to become the most decorated athlete at the Winter Olympics. If a team has belief and confidence, they can achieve greatness. Royal support doesn’t hurt either, as the Swedish Biathlon team proved on several occasions. For some athletes, the color of the medal wasn’t the expected one, and sometimes bronze was as good as gold. While some may return home thinking of what could have been, others revel in the accomplishment of a lifetime. Regardless, the experience of an Olympian has many paths towards it but once achieved can never be taken away.

      For me, my journey is about to take me to my third Paralympic Winter Games. I truly love this part of the journey, the final few weeks before the Games begin. For me, everything is crystal clear and quite simple. I tend to go into my little bubble where I solely focus on my preparation. Part of that bubble is to stay healthy but as well to align all aspects of my life to a singular focus. Performance on the day. After the two previous Games, I have learned that success comes from preparation. Ensuring that my preparation is at its best will allow me to be at my best on race day. My goal for the Paralympics is to perfectly execute my race plan in each race I start to the best of my ability. In doing so, I can cross the finish line and know I did my best. Whatever the result may be. Making fewer mistakes than my competitors allows me a greater chance of success.

      On the 27 of February, I flew to Japan for the final Training Camp before the Games. I will spend a week here before heading to PyeongChang as the Opening Ceremonies will be on March 9. I start competing right off the bat with the Biathlon Sprint on March 10. Japan is proving to be a great reminder of adversity and adapting. The first two days have been a blinding blizzard. Skiing has been difficult in the 80cm+ of fresh snow, but the adventuring has been amazing. I would describe the workouts so far more of an adventurous trudge than a ski. I can only imagine therefore the term Japow was coined. The excitement builds with the start of the Games now less than a week away.

      Mark