This year for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics we wanted to get involved, we wanted to show our support and provide Canadians with a chance to build community during the games. Our Olympic Campaign aims to amplify Canadian spirit and community throughout the 16-day duration. We've reached out to some Calgarian Olympic athletes who have experienced the Olympics first hand and tonight we're hearing from Halfpipe skier, Rachael Karker! Scroll, read and enjoy!
I have always dreamed of going to the Olympics and I just missed it. I am a Halfpipe skier from Erin, Ontario and now live in Calgary, Alberta. I came to Calgary to train because it has one of the best Halfpipes in the world! Once I was here I felt a connection to the community and the support I received from everyone made it really seem like it was the best place for me to train. I feel so lucky to have so many resources available to me at the Canada Sport Institute Calgary and Winsport. It has really helped me get where I am.
This has been the most intense competition season of my life, it is my first season competing fully on the World Cup Circuit. Throughout this season almost every one of my results has been personal bests. Despite that, I ended up just missing the Olympic team this year, and was named the 1st alternate for Halfpipe.
Looking back, I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn't heavily involved in sports. I learned to ski when I was two years old and grew up skiing every weekend with my family. I was put in ski racing with my brothers at a young age which was definitely a good start to my athletic career.
As I got older I took a detour from skiing and bounced around from sport to sport, I may not have known what sport I wanted to do but I have always known that I wanted to compete. I went from dancing at the National Ballet School of Canada to competing nationally in both artistic gymnastics and trampoline. Training so heavily from a young age was always a challenge, especially with school. My teachers and the schools I attended were always very accommodating and supportive of my training.
All of a sudden, I found my way back into skiing and it was the best thing that’s happened to me. My brother Austin was skiing and competing in freestyle skiing at the time and was definitely a big influence on my decision to go back into skiing. I joined the Blue Mountain Park and Pipe team in Collingwood, Ontario and started competing in Slopestyle skiing at local contests. Throughout the next couple of years, I moved up to competing at provincial competitions and junior nationals. I was then added to our provincial team and competed with them for three years. I was then named to the NextGen National team after a successful competition season and did one final sports switch to Halfpipe skiing.
After doing so many sports, I really felt I found my place in Halfpipe Skiing. Everything has come together for me in the past two seasons. With the support, I had from my parents, extended family, and sport organization, it really made it easier to move so far away from home to train.
This season has felt almost surreal, a year ago I would not have even believed it possible to be so close to representing Canada at the Olympics. I have received so much love and support from everyone who helped me here in Calgary and from back home in Ontario. But it was still a hard blow to be so close and not make it, it’s hard to remember sometimes in sport that what you do still matters, even when you don’t achieve the big goal of making the Olympics. I try to remind myself to be proud of my progression over the past year and of my successes so far this season. Speaking to other athletes who were also so close to qualifying, I think it’s important to think and remember all the athletes who just missed the Games, like me.
As a competitive athlete, it is hard not to feel defeated when you don’t achieve everything you want to. It is important to remember to sit back, enjoy your sport and to remind yourself of why you fell in love with it in the first place. I have had lots of struggles throughout my journey in sport but to be able to look past and work through them has really allowed me to get where I am today. I am very proud of where skiing has taken me and lucky to feel the continued support from everyone which helps me look to the future! I am so lucky to be able to just go skiing and continue to learn, progress and most importantly, to have fun and just enjoy myself.
I am so excited for and very proud of the athletes competing for Canada in South Korea and will spend most of the next month cheering them on from home!
Tune in next week to see what we have on the blog! If you or someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! Chat at chaaa next week Canada - stay local!