Olympic Athletes: Personal Best
November 1, 2009
Britt Janyk, 29
Training regimen: 15 hours in the gym, and 10 hours of cardio or anaerobic training.
Goal: “Win gold.”
“It’s sleeping properly, it’s eating properly, it’s doing my mental training every day. But the most important thing is to keep it simple —to manage my time so I’m giving back to my sponsors and others, but also to get everything I need out of it. The night before every race I write a race plan, just one or two things to focus on. When it’s clear on paper, it’s easy to just let everything else go. ‘Look ahead, look for speed, be strong over your skis, attack the course.’ Simple things.”
Denny Morrison, 24
Training regimen: 24 to 48 hours a week, half on the ice, half weightlifting, running, and dryland training.
Goal: “To step up to the start line confident that I’ve done everything possible to have the race of my life.”
“After Torino in 2006 I took six weeks off, then sat down with my coach saying, ‘Here’s where we want to be, and here’s what the program’s going to look like.’ It was a four-year build to Vancouver. One of the biggest challenges is trusting that once the Games come, I’ll be ready. I don’t have a job. I put school on hold for speedskating. I’m in a bubble with other speedskaters and people who train at the Oval. It’s my entire life now.”
Alex Gough, 22
Training regimen: 25 hours a week—8 hours mobility and paddling, 8 hours poling, 8 hours in the weight room, 1 hour cycling.
Goal: “To have the best starts and fastest runs I can put together with the fewest mistakes.”
“I broke my ankle two winters ago. We were about two weeks into
our season, training in Calgary, and it got sandwiched between the
sled and the wall. I had to have surgery and they put in two screws.
That was the end of October; I got back on the ice in the middle of
January. The whole time I was in a cast, I was at the gym working
out as much as I could, trying to get back into shape to pass our
physical standards test and get back on the team. I did pass, and
was able to go to the training camp in Whistler in February. It was the goal I’d set when I got injured. I love pushing to see what I can do. I’m always in competition with myself.”
Maelle Ricker, 30
Training regimen: 38 hours a week—12 hours weights and conditioning, 6 hours physio and rehab, 20 hours on the mountain.
Goal: “To have a run in the SBX finals where I put everything on the line and have no regrets.”
“As soon as I finished my race in Torino, I knew I had to work as hard as possible. It was painful at the time, but finishing fourth in 2006 was probably one of the best things for my preparation for February: I was willing to do anything to get another chance at an Olympic medal. The big sacrifice I chose to make was not getting a post-secondary education. Looking back now, it seems like something I should have tried harder to do—study and compete at the same time. My mom warned me how much harder it would be to go back to school after taking such a long break. I didn’t take the warning seriously at the time. Now I can see exactly what she’s talking about. Go figure.”
Jeremy Ten, 20
Training regimen: 20 to 25 hours a week—3 hours in the gym, 1 hour of ballet, 1 hour of contemporary dance,
1 hour of cardio, 16 hours on the ice.
Goal: “To skate two strong performances, technically and artistically, in front of my hometown.”
“When it isn’t going well and you start to realize that the Games aren’t far away, it gets really stressful. If you watch me before I get into my starting pose, you can see me mouthing words. I say to myself, ‘Stay focused. Stay relaxed.’ When I step out on the ice, I think about what I want. I think about the fact that I want to represent Canada. I know there’s the winning and the medals and the glory, but I don’t think of it like that. It’s an escape for me. I’m there, but I’m in my own world.”
Jacquie Armstrong, 33
Training regimen: 20 hours a week—7.5 hours of cardio, interval, strength, core, and flexibility training, and 12.5 hours on the ice.
“I’m a professional in software development. I have a job; I have a husband; I have two kids. It’s hard finding the balance between sport, work, and family, and making sure nothing’s being neglected. We had a gathering at our house with friends who I wouldn’t see for the next six months. My husband has had to ask for flexibility in his work for daycare pickups. The most frustrating part is missing out on my son’s hockey this fall. I think if you polled other Olympic women’s curling teams, you’d get the same answer. Most everyone has small children and careers. The Olympics are a very big commitment.”