As some of you may have heard, I am working towards representing Ireland as a cross country skier at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which will be held in Sochi, Russia. I began ski racing in 2006 when I joined the Nordic Ski Team at McGill University in Montreal. The joy of skiing rapidly became a full blown addiction, and the last eight winters have been filled with training, learning proper technique, and beginning to understand the art and science of ski waxing. Along the way I have made lifelong friends, and explored many beautiful places to ski.
In 2010 I moved to Ottawa, Ontario and joined the XC Chelsea Masters. Through this club I have discovered the benefits of rollerskiing, and the bounty of ski trails in Gatineau park. It was also here that I met my coach – Petr Jakl. 2013 brought the next significant step on this journey – racing for Ireland with a FIS license and scoring some points within Olympic qualifying standards.
March 2013 brought some big decisions as my 20th year of formal education was coming to an end. With an undergraduate degree in Physiology, and an Advanced College diploma in Respiratory Therapy completed I had some exciting job possibilities to consider. However taking on full time work and letting the possibility of skiing at the Olympics drift away didn’t seem like the right decision. I decided to commit to my Olympic dream. I will be working part time through the summer months and as of September I will be fully immersed in training and skiing.
Petr and I were able to hold two short training camps together before parting ways for the summer. We are in touch by Skype and email, constantly adjusting the training plan. The summer will be full of running, cycling, weights and plyometrics. Trail, track and orienteering races will keep things interesting along the way. In September I hope to spend some time training in the Czech Republic and Germany before relocating to Canmore, Alberta to catch the first snow of the year and to prepare for the NorAm circuit.
The goal will be to race as many qualifying races before January 20th, 2014 when the Sochi qualifying period ends. At that point I hope to be within the Olympic standard, and also to be the fastest Irishman within it, in order to secure a spot on the Irish Olympic Team. There promises to be some excitement and much hard work along the way.