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Athlete's Eye - Courtney Stott

On March 14, I put my Canada bracelet on as a reminder to stay positive and focused when Olympic Team Trials and Florida training camp were cancelled. I arrived home three days later still feeling optimistic and slightly oblivious to what was happening. I was expecting and prepared to quarantine at home for 2 weeks, and then head off to train with my teammates to prepare for a set of trials sometime in the spring. I was expecting this situation to be temporary.

Five days later, I got word that Canada would not be participating in a games that would take place in 2020. I was not prepared for that. In a split second my dream, and every Canadian athlete’s dream, seemed impossible to achieve. I was heartbroken, I was angry, and then I looked down at my bracelet and I was determined to keep preparing and stay positive no matter what.

Shortly after, the IOC announced the postponement of the Olympics. This was good news, but now I was expecting every competition this year to be cancelled leaving me with no direction or purpose to guide my training. And then again, I was heartbroken, I was angry, and then I looked down at my bracelet.

After this continuous cycle of adjusting my expectations and focus, I began to make a long term plan to transform my Mom’s house into a mini training centre. I received an erg and dumbbells from the canoe club, gym equipment from family members, and a bike trainer from my boyfriend. My grandfather even built me a bench press and squat rack. In no time at all, I was settling into my new rhythm of training alone at home.

As expected, only having to walk down a flight of stairs to get to practice each day has left me with more time on my hands and more time alone. I have used this as an opportunity to do the things I wouldn’t normally do like mobility, mindfulness, and Pilates. I have spent a lot of my alone time thinking about what changes I can make to improve my focus and my mindset while training alone. The positive side to training alone is that there are less external distractions, forcing me to strengthen my internal focus and only compare myself to who I was yesterday. When training gets tough I only have myself to listen to, so I have resorted to an immense amount of positive self talk and it works.

We may be isolated right now, but I know that BBCC will come out of this strong and unite once again whenever that may be. Reflecting on past hardships can help to find strength during this time. Find what helps you readjust your expectations, what helps you stay positive, and what helps you stay focused. Go beach

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