Photos by @lyndsaygreenwood
“Ugh!!! Who does this guy think he is?! He is so loud, so obnoxious and poorly organized. Asking us, the Canadian team to transport his 4 man sled to the next stop. Who does that?”
During this particular year, my first few weeks in bobsleigh, Winterberg, Germany was not living up to its name. The winter days were mild and sunny and I felt like the reason why people did bobsleigh was to get away from the cold Canadian winters and into the mild European ones. Not only was the weather different, but I swapped varsity life for the life of an Olympian. Gold medallists and aspiring Olympians filled the start house, Ivo being one of those aspiring Olympians to represent his country, The Netherlands.
I never really noticed Ivo at first(it took me about 3 months to actually remember his name) and he never really noticed me either. He was just that guy who was annoying and loud and I was just one of the Canadian girls. We both were in serious relationships with another person back at home and didn’t even think to look at one another in that way. I continued to struggle my way through my first season, trying to figure out that steep learning curve, broke up with my long term boyfriend and even drove my first bobsleigh.
That summer Ivo and his teammate came to Calgary to train at the Canadian facilities. Our ice house is one of 4 in the world so many countries come to train here. We began to talk to each other despite my feelings of his overly loud and obnoxiousness and those old feelings of Ivo began to melt away. After he left, we continued to talk daily.
Ivo and I both made our respective bobsleigh teams and had been competing for 2 months now. We had Christmas together in the Netherlands and I just found out that I was being forced to stop being a World Cup brakeman and would be sent back to Calgary to learn how to drive with the provincial team. Ivo and I wouldn’t see each other for 3 months after that.
Long distance relationships are hard. Skype became our friend and travelling became our even closer friend. We travelled to Turkey, Florida, Australia, France and Ukraine to name a few. It is our hobby outside of bobsleigh and we love emerging ourselves in other peoples cultures.
The 2013/14 season was a tough season for both of us. Ivo didn’t get sent to the Sochi Olympics even though he qualified and I was fighting to learn more bobsleigh tracks so that I could make my transition in to being a world class driver. We decided to get away for a bit and travel to Egypt. This is where Ivo proposed to me. I didn’t believe him, being the joker that he is. I said no for about a week until I realized that he was being serious.
On April 12, 2014, Ivo and I got married. Ivo moved to Canada and we promptly began the Canadian residency paperwork.
Ivo and I still live in Calgary with 2 roommates. He has been my physical trainer for 3 years getting my push start to a competitive level.
Our summer days consist of training upwards of 7 hours a day then switching from trainer/athlete to husband/wife. This proved to be a struggle in the beginning but we are continuously improving on this. We still travel as much as we possibly can. We just visited Florida, the Bahamas and Monaco.
During the winter season, our real jobs begin. We sleep and eat in the same hotels as our respective teams. We see each other at the bobsleigh track and in the gym but the husband/wife relationship can be turned on only once all the work has been done. This has proven to be a challenge but we love our lifestyle of training, competing and travelling. We wouldn’t have it any other way.