The feeling of going 140kms and hour, where the world should be a blur, but its not because you've trained your brain for this. Everything is clear. You can see the trees and the snow and where your coach stands on the track. Although you are riding the razors edge seconds away from potential chaos, it is quiet in your mind as you feel you have everything all under control. The quiet stream of adrenaline into your brain keeping your senses heightened, yet the calm composure of being completely in that moment. Thats what Ill miss, now that was fun.
I am officially turning the page on a chapter of my life. I never would have guessed at 12 years old that a run down a luge course would change the trajectory of my whole life, but man am I glad it did.
Over 16 years I was able to compete in:
51 World Cups
10 Canadian Championships
5 World Championships
In those 16 years I experienced everything from crashes and sliding down the track on my face to medals around my neck; tears of joy, pain, exhaustion, sadness, frustration, happiness and everything in between. What a journey.
Recently someone asked me “How would you sum up your career in one sentence?” I thought this was the stupidest question anyone had ever asked me. How do you sum up 16 years of your life in a sentence? No one walks around at dinner parties saying “Describe your last decade in one word”. After my annoyance at this question subsided it really got me thinking and one quote came to mind:
“Underestimate me, that’ll be fun. Although she may be little, she is fierce.”
My story is one of exceeding expectations, overcoming adversity and constant perseverance. I don't believe sport develops character so much as it reveals it. My journey and the lessons I learned along the way revealed to myself that I was stronger than I ever thought possible. My rollercoaster ride of a career held the highest highs and the lowest lows. I am proud to have soaked in and celebrated each of those highs, and viewed my lows not as failures but as succeeding to find out what did not work, and moving forward.
There is something so beautiful in what athletes put themselves through, and there is also something insane!
As athletes we push our bodies to the limits, we ask them over and over again to move in ways it doesn't want to, to get out of bed when it feels there is nothing left, to push the boundaries tirelessly day after day. In the endeavour to be one of the best, my body didn't fail me for many years.
Now has finally come the time when my body is saying “NO”. Now it is time to listen and give my body the respect it deserves.
My very last race ended with me standing on the top of the podium with my teammates, a gold medal around my neck. Hearing your national anthem play for you is one of the best feelings in the world; but in that moment it also signified more to me.
One year before I had broken my back. In one day I went from feeling like the strongest version of myself, to sitting in an ice bath alone, crying, barely able to move an inch without pain.
“Sometimes you have to get knocked lower than you ever have before to stand taller than you ever were.”
Standing atop that podium felt so good to know that I persevered through some of the most extreme fear, challenge and darkest days I've ever experienced.
I feel satisfied, because I know that I gave it my all, there wasn't an ounce more of energy to give. I achieved many of my goals, each of them an accomplishment I was told I would never be able to achieve.
I know as I close this chapter and retire as a luge athlete, that new and great adventures are right around the corner.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”-Maya Angelou