MY ROAD TO RIO

Originally Published on the Powered By Chocolate Milk Blog

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The Rio Olympics are less than a year away. Like a black hole, the Olympic Games seem to have a gravitational force that sucks everything towards it and the closer you get to it the quicker time seems to move. As the Games draw closer, expectations increase, the spotlight intensifies, and the pressure builds. For some this is the pressure that’s needed to achieve greatness – for others it proves too much and causes them to crack. In the next 12 months the Olympic dreams of some athletes will be fulfilled, while others left off the team will be faced with a decision – retire, having missed out on a lifelong dream or, push on for another 4 years in hopes that things will be different next time around.

Twenty years into my track-and-field career I have accomplished much of what I set out to do. I have qualified and competed for Canada on 10 National Teams – from the youth level all the way up to the Senior World Track and Field Championships. In my mind, the only thing missing from my personal resume is an Olympic Games (in 2012 I missed making the Games by a matter of seconds). Having achieved the Olympic Qualifying Standard last month in London, England, I’ve come closer to realizing my Olympic dream than ever before. The only things standing in my way are three of the top Canadian Steeplechasers ever.

Canada – A Steeplechase Powerhouse

Never before in the history of the modern Olympics has Canada sent more than one entrant in the Steeplechase, an event that takes place over 3000m, 28 barriers, and seven water jumps. Heading into 2016, Canada already has four athletes who have met the qualifying standard, me included, and there are a couple of other athletes knocking on the door. For the event, the sport, and for our country this sort of progress is nothing short of fantastic! In fact, across most event disciplines, we are seeing a renaissance of sorts here in Canada in athletics (case in point: In the 2015 World Track and Field Championships, Canada won more medals than ever before).

On the flip side, come July 1st, 2016, after the Canadian Olympic Trials comes to a close, there will be athletes left off the Olympic team. Athletes that have sacrificed much for not only the past four years but for many, much longer than that.

10 Months to Go!

Over the next 10 months, as the Games loom ever larger in the foreground, I plan to do everything in my control to be as prepared as possible on the day. One day will make all the difference. There are no “re-dos” or “next times.” Hopefully, on that one day, at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Edmonton, I can achieve this Olympic Dream I have nurtured for over two decades.

Follow My Journey

Twitter: @cwinter3

Instagram: chriswinter2

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