While race season seems like another world ago, our season was rudely cut short, let’s take some time and reflect back on some of the highlights. In February, four Foothills athletes represented Canada at international biathlon events. Naomi Walch, Pascale Paradis and Jenna Sherrington competed at Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland where almost 1,800 athletes participated. Claire
Nguyen-cao competed at Youth World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. These were experiences of a lifetime, and Jenna kindly shared some of her reflections. We hope her words will put a smile on your face and help inspire our young athletes in the weeks (months) of solo training ahead.
“Having the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Canada at the Youth Olympics Games was an experience I will never forget. The Games showed me a side of sport that I never would have seen if I had not gone. The kinship between athletes, no matter the country, sport or gender is astonishing. I was blown away by the effort and dedication from not only the other athletes but also from the broader community. The volunteers worked tirelessly to help make the Games run smoothly.
One of the highlights of the experience for me was being there with my close friends, Naomi and Pascale. Having them there and seeing them race and try their hardest inspired me to do the same. I really appreciate them and their ever present smiles. Having people to hug at the end of a tough race is wildly underrated. It means so much and always helps to cheer me up.
The one thing that I was most surprised by was the incredible venue and quality of the food. There was always hot water for showers! Which, for racing overseas is somewhat rare. The food at every meal was delicious. Fondue with Swiss cheese and deserts were always available. It felt like something out of a dream.
Preparing for the Games was super fun, getting all the team gear and swag was so exciting! Training wise, I prepared by having lots of backcountry ski days over Christmas with my family and friends. I think that was the most important part of my preparation because, often times as athletes with a major event coming up we forget to slow down and stay present in the moment. It’s hard to not get caught up in the insanity of it all, so for me backcountry skiing and time with people I love helps to recenter myself and be fully focused when its race time.
Youth Olympics was a learning experience as a whole, with regards to performance I learned that the Europeans are crazy fast and we need to catch up. I also learned that to be a great athlete you need to be able to go with the flow. Plans change on a dime, buses are delayed and meetings are scheduled seemingly at random but, being having the ability to just go with it and roll with the punches is a super vital skill.
If I could’ve given myself some advice when I was younger I probably would’ve said to dry fire more and to continue to seek improvements because, there is always more to know and get better at when it comes to biathlon. Overall, Youth Olympics was an absolutely fantastic time that I hope more Foothills athletes will have the chance to experience in the future. Wearing the maple leaf and representing such a beautiful country will never lose its magic.”
Thanks Jenna and congratulations to all of you for representing #foothillsnation on the world stage!