With the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China Aug 8 – 24, we spoke with Olympians Malindi Elmore, Erica Morningstar and Joshua Riker-Fox about their events, representing Calgary, and where you can participate in their sport around the city.
At just 19-years-old, swimmer Erica Morningstar has already placed fifth at the 2007 World Championships, third at the Commonwealth Games, and broken four national records. But perhaps the biggest accomplishment this plucky teen has achieved was swimming herself into a spot on this year’s Olympic team in April.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics,” Morningstar says. For Morningstar daily training is a sacrifice she’s willing to make—now. “For the first few years, I didn’t really like (swimming), but I started getting more into it, and it got so that making it this far was a reachable goal,” she says.
Although Morningstar was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, she says Calgary feels like home to her, one that she is happy to be representing in the Olympics. She is equally proud to be representing Canada in Beijing in August.
“I love wearing the maple leaf when I race, it’s a great feeling.”
In Beijing, Morningstar will compete in the 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley, and in three relays: 4x 100m freestyle, 4x 200m freestyle, and 4x 100m medley.
WHERE TO SWIM
Morningstar recommends The Talisman Centre, a multi-sport complex featuring two 50-metre swimming pools and a diving tank. “It’s a really good place to do laps, or go off the diving board.”
When Malindi Elmore goes jogging passersby yell out words of encouragement. “People don’t expect someone to go tearing past them while they’re walking their dog. They cheer me on. I love it.”
Elmore, 28, is one of the country’s fastest runners in the 1500m heat. She represented Canada in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, placing 10th, and is in the running for qualifying for the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing. She won’t know until early July, but she thinks she has a good shot.
In order to qualify Elmore has a daily training routine made up of elliptical sessions, strength building and four 1000m runs. Having been to one Olympics already, Elmore is better prepared for dealing with both inner and outer pressure.
“A lot of people are watching and caring about how you do. You feel honoured but you don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve learned to be okay if I know I’ve done the best I could.”
Though originally from Kelowna, B.C., the tiny-framed brunette has embraced her new hometown as a key location to reach her Olympic dream. “Calgary is a great place to run, there are so many great trails along the water.” Watch to see if Elmore makes it on to Canada’s team July 3-5.
WHERE TO RUN
Elmore recommends The Glenmore Reservoir loop, 16.5 km of pathways around the Glenmore Reservoir Dam and Edworthy Park, a treed pathway system along the Bow River. “They’re beautiful places. You get the water plus the hills and a nice long stretch of clear path with no traffic lights.”
Joshua Riker-Fox is used to people asking him to explain what his sport, the Modern Pentathlon, is all about. Made up of five disciplines performed on the same day, it consists of: shooting, fencing, swimming, riding and running.
The discipline that carries the most significance for Riker-Fox is the equestrian aspect. He credits his introduction to his father, who is also an avid rider. Riker-Fox’s family was a source of support for him at the 2007 Pan-American games, where he landed himself a bronze medal, as well as a spot on the Olympic team.
Riker-Fox has been dreaming of going to the Olympics since he first saw the opening ceremonies of the ‘88 Calgary Games when he was five.
“Things just developed from there. The dream that I had became more serious,” he says.
His weekly training consists of 6 swims, 5 runs, 3 fencing practices, 3 shooting sessions and 1 equestrian ride. Though originally from Delacour, a town just 27 km northeast of Calgary’s downtown, Riker-Fox is excited to represent Calgary and its surrounding areas in Beijing.
“Being Calgarian, there’s a sense of pride there that everybody has from having hosted the games in ‘88.”
WHERE TO RIDE
Riker-Fox recommends JMS Equestrian Centre, a barn in Calgary where visitors can lease a horse or take lessons, 226-0542, and Spruce Meadows, where spectators can watch show jumping. “There are very few places in the world where you will see such a concentration of quality riders.”—Laura Pellerine and Ally McConnell