Thursday, June 26, 2008

feeling the pressure...

On the way to the gym this morning, I really opened up to Mimi about some of the pressure I had been feeling lately. Believe me, I am not the type of person that usually talks like this. I think I´m a pretty private person, except with my close friends, and usually keep a lot to myself. My mom is always telling me it´s not good to keep it all inside, but I like to think I can handle everything on my own. That´s just my type of personality I guess. I don´t want to be a burden on other people or have to rely on others so I come off as having this crazy tough as nails persona, especially with my coach. Mimi is constantly telling me to tell her when I´m in too much pain, etc. etc. but I like to think I am invincible. I think most of the time it works in my favour, but there are times when I need to ask for help and I don´t. So here I was reaching out to my coach for some advice. We had an amazing conversation and I was able to get a lot off my chest that had been on my mind for awhile now.

Basically, now that my injury is practically healed and I´m back in the gym with full force I´ve realized that the Canadian and International gymnastics community hasn´t seen me since early April. That is a long time to be off the scene and I started feeling worried that people were doubting my ability to come back from it. I have the most incredible support system ever, but I still had this feeling that there were people out there concerned that I wouldn´t be able to compete well at the Olympics. Honestly, I never doubted for a second that I would be back even stronger for August. Yes it hasn´t been easy, but I´ve never back downed from any challenge that was thrown at me. My coach reassured me that there will always be people who try and put you down or worry that even though you had come through for them before you might not be able to do it this time. It´s sad to me to think that those people are out there, but in the end I know what I have to do and what I´m capable of. I can´t wait to get out there and prove all of them wrong. I think I have an edge walking into the Olympics with being out of the competitive loop these past couple of weeks. No one will know what to expect and I am expecting to blow them all away. Mimi really helped me get rid of all those negative feelings and extra pressure I was putting on myself. She reminded me that it was my first Olympics ever and that will be extremely nerve racking, no matter how physically prepared I am. Whatever happens it will happen for a reason, but she is behind me all the way.

Thanks for everything Mimi!

Where did the time go?

I was talking with my coach, Mimi, yesterday and we were saying how fast these past two weeks have gone by. We were in the car on the way back from the gym and she started talking about packing and I was just like what? The idea of packing everything up again and getting ready to leave hadn´t even crossed my mind. I reassured her that we had so much time left before our flight on monday. So we got home and I just had a feeling to look at my tickets and wouldn´t you know our flight was on sunday not monday!!!! We totally would´ve missed our flight home if I hadn´t checked it! Both of us were laughing so hard at this because it has actually happened to us before. I am sooo relieved we got it all sorted out, but now I only have two days left here in Marbella. I´m a little sad, but happy too. I wish there was more time to do things I wanted to do...aka shopping....but I was here to train and that´s exactly what I did.

It was a really hard trip for me, but pushing through it I´ve come out so much stronger and better prepared for the next couple of weeks heading to Beijing. Mimi totally whipped me into shape, but I needed it badly. I keep saying it, but she is the only coach that can get the best out of me. No matter what, I trust her completely and know that she is going to do everything in her power to have me ready for my first Olympics. We have waited such a long time for this and I know it´s going to be the performance of my lifetime.

Ok I really need to go buy some souvenirs to give to everyone back home....ciao!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So it's day 4 of my training camp in Spain. I woke up this morning and have never been so sore in my life. I really wish I was exaggerating. I had a pretty restless night of tossing and turning and when I woke up I tried to sit up and couldn't. I had to just laugh because it took me about twenty minutes to try and find some way to get out of bed in the least possible amount of pain. Sore doesn't even begin to describe it. It was one of those mornings where you debate with yourself if you really have to get out of bed at all. I felt like not moving one inch all day, but when I heard my coach putting the coffee on I snapped back to reality. I had to leave for training in half an hour so there was really nothing else to think about. I had breakfast on the patio and honestly I give the sun total credit for taking away any pain I had. I couldn't resist taking a picture and showing you the breathtaking view from this morning. It was hard to leave it, but I'm thinking I'm having my coffee out on the patio every morning from now on.

Besides the soreness, training has been going really well out here. I'm so happy to be back with my coach Mimi. She just knows me so well as a person and an athlete and we're definitely getting the best out of each other. The days are long and hard, but nothing I'm not ready for. I literally just got back from training so I think I'm going to jump into an ice bath and hopefully tomorrow I'll have a more pain free wake up call. 

Toronto Sun Article

Hey Everyone!

Rob Longley from the Toronto Sun just wrote up a great article on me so you can check it out at:

Thank for giving my sport such great exposure Rob!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Leaving for Spain...

I'm flying out to Spain today to see my coach and I'm really excited. My coach, Mimi, has been living out in Europe since October and it's been a huge life change for me. For the past ten years I have worked with my coach every single day here in Toronto. I grew up and matured as a gymnast with her watching by my side. So when she had to take a contract out in Spain for an amazing coaching position I obviously supported her. It is a difficult life for coaches in Rhythmic Gymnastics here in Canada and she had to do what was right for her and her family. Long story short, she moved out there and I was faced with this huge decision. Should I move to Spain to be with her? I know it sounds like a no brainer, but it took me a really long time to decide. There were so many factors that went into it for me, it was far from easy. To move to Spain sounds so glamorous and fun, but I had to remember about everything I would be giving up if I left. I had my family, friends, university whole life. Could I really leave it all behind? 

In the end, I couldn't leave Toronto and we came up with a plan to make sure my preparation for Beijing didn't suffer. Basically, I fly back and forth so I can train with Mimi, but still be in school back home and not lose who I am and my life back in Canada. I love it out in Spain and it's always such an amazing experience for me as a gymnast and a person, but the first time I came back home I realized Mimi wasn't with me and on monday I would be starting up with a new coach for the first time in my career. It was pretty nerve racking I'm not going to lie. When you've worked with one person for so long, it's a scary feeling to not know what to expect when you head to the gym. I have to say though that it's been the best and most beneficial thing for me at this time in my life. So many coaches here in Ontario come to my trainings and want to help me with my preparation. Now I always have fresh eyes on me at practice in Toronto giving me new feedback and ideas and I push myself even harder in Spain when I know I only have limited time with Mimi. I have become so much more independent and able to take criticism from all different coaches and use it to my advantage. It feels like I have the whole Canadian gymnastics community trying to get me in the best shape possible for the Games, which is a pretty cool feeling to have.

So I'm going to be boarding a plane in a few hours and am really looking forward to the next two weeks with Mimi. I know it's going to be hard, I know it's probably going to be the hardest training camp of my life, but I still can't wait for it. I'm so ready to get the best out of me and on those bad days I'll just keep Beijing in my head and battle through....

Feeling good

I can't even tell you how good it feels to be back in the gym. I never thought I would ever say I missed training, but I did. I can't describe to you how frustrating it is to sit at home, knowing that all you can do for yourself is stay off your feet. I am definitely not used to having time to just lie around the house, but that's exactly what I had to do with my injury. Knowing that all my competitors were working themselves like crazy, while I was doing nothing was the hardest thing for me. I felt completely helpless, it was awful. Everyone was telling me to just stay calm, wait it out, rest, ice and elevate, but that's a lot easier said then done. The second my ankle started feeling better I wanted to go back to the gym and see what I could do, but my doctor and I both knew that I would push it too hard so I had to keep waiting. We wanted to make absolute sure the ligaments were strong enough to handle what I was going to do to them lol 

So after a very long month of complete stir craziness I was back at training two weeks ago and I've never felt so good. It's a hard road to get back into shape after taking so much time off, but when is anything easy? I'm more motivated, more energetic and more driven then I was before my injury and am feeling like my old self again which always puts a smile on my face. It was so tough for me to face an injury so close to the Games and I let it get me down a few times, but looking back on it now I am so fortunate it happened when it did. There was still enough time to get ready for Beijing and maybe my body was giving me a sign that it really needed a break. Not the best way to tell me, but everything happens for a reason. 

After two weeks of being more careful then I would like in the gym, I'm totally confident in my abilities and what my ankle can handle now. I feel good and am running the events I'll be competing with in August now. I think my stamina is the hardest thing to get back, but I know that comes with time. It's always the worst to build up for me, but I keep telling myself that if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger. It's just being able to push through that initial pain and fatigue...if you can get through that in one piece you're good to go. Some days I've wanted to tell my coach that I just couldn't do it anymore, but I never do and I can always find the energy you never thought was in you to keep going. So no matter how bad you think it is, it feels so much better to get past it then let it get to you. I'm always so disappointed afterwards when I'm easier on myself or don't put my all into practice. So yeah you've saved some energy, but did you get better? Probably not. My coach always used to tell me if you show up not giving 150% in the gym then it's not even worth it and you should've just stayed at home. I guess that stuck with me...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

UofT Alumni Magazine Debut!

I had no idea what to expect when UofT contacted me and wanted me to be in their Summer issue of the Alumni Magazine. The interview was pretty standard, but I was really surprised to hear that they wanted to set up a professional photo shoot for the issue. I met up with an amazing photographer, the one and only Chris Wahl, and I had the most fun on a shoot ever. We spent hours switching up poses, outfits, hairstyles, facial expressions (that was hilarious) and I got to show the real me. I love and so rarely get to take more laid back shots with my hair down and in training clothes so I couldn't have been happier when I got the magazine this week. The competition suits we have to perform in are so not sporty and I think this type of picture captures my personality perfectly. So thanks Chris for making me beautiful and UofT for including me in the Alumni Magazine this summer!!!!

2008 National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships...

I just got home from Nationals in Montreal and for the first time ever I was just a spectator. My 12th National Championships and I was sitting in the stands. It's honestly really hard for me to even write that let alone say it. I never thought it would affect me like this. As I sat there, surrounded by all these families and friends, I realized what life is like on the other side and I did not like it. Don't me wrong, I loved watching the girls and cheering on my teammates, but I wanted to be one of them not just another fan. I never thought that being on the sidelines just this once in my career would upset me so much. It's not about defending my title or the attention, but missing out on that feeling I get in front of a home crowd; That adrenaline pumping through me while I'm performing just for the pure love of my sport and nothing else. Internationally, the stakes are higher, there is more pressure and you don't have the support of a community that has watched you grow and mature since you were a little girl. I have been competing for Canada since I was 9 years old and I will cherish the memories I have had at every Nationals forever.

The competition over last weekend was held in the Olympic park Stadium where ironically enough I won my first National Title at 11 years old. It was a very emotional weekend you could say the least. As I watched the younger athletes compete, I saw myself out there. It was the strangest feeling. I couldn't help but reminisce about the past. The last twelve years of my life all of a sudden felt like they had flown by and here I am two months away from the Olympic Games.

If I hadn't been working towards making the Olympics since I was a little girl maybe I would've risked competing on an injury. But the past couple of weeks I've been struggling with a torn ligament in my ankle and it's just not the year to risk anything, even though I wanted to so bad. As I'm writing this now my ankle is almost back to 100% and I'm in the gym pushing myself as usual. Well, technically I'm supposed to be taking it easy, but that's just not how I train. If I'm in the gym, I'm there to work. From my own experience, whenever you're cautious and thinking too much about not getting hurt in the gym, you always do. I think I'm old enough and hopefully mature enough to know my body and know when it's telling me to stop. And if by any chance I'm just being myself and pushing too hard, my coach is always there to tell me to calm down! Which funnily enough, happens more often than not.

So even though it was incredibly difficult for me to watch this years Nationals go by, I couldn't be more proud of my teammates and all the gymnasts that competed over the weekend. I wanted to congratulate each and every one of them for going out there and giving it their all. I am extremely jealous that I couldn't be among them, but in the end it made me more motivated to get out there and compete the next time. Thanks girls!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Second Chance by Alison Korn

A former Canadian Olympian, Alison Korn, contacted me a few days ago to do an interview. She now writes a great weekly column on amateur sports for the Toronto Sun. I was so honoured that she chose to write last weeks column on me! So here is the link, you should check this one out too!


Hey Everyone!

Jeff Jurmain from the Canadian Olympic Committee wrote an awesome article on me for an Olympic themed newsletter called PODIUM. The link is below so you should all check it out!

Enjoy :)