I have been blessed with the opportunity to follow my heart and chase my dream of becoming an Olympian. That dream was everything for me. I woke up early and I stayed up late, filling my days with training sessions, study sessions, and review. However, this past year I retired from competitive fencing. I made a run for the 2016 Olympic Games, but I was unable to secure a qualification spot.
To say the transition away from athletics was easy, would be untruthful. I was so sure I would qualify for the Olympics. It was a tough adjustment switching from a singular focus to having all the free time I could ever want. It took a while for my decision to retire to sink in, but when it did I felt completely lost. When I went to the gym I had no reason to push myself and lift more weights. I had no reason to train footwork and improve my foot speed. I had no reason to watch and review fencing. I had nothing driving me to stick to a strict meal plan and I had acquired so much free time I had no idea what to do with myself.
It took a while for my decision to retire to sink in, but when it did I felt completely lost.
My days no longer consisted of multiple training sessions, but that opened the door to the rekindling of old hobbies, discovering a new passion, and spending time with family and friends. It was important for me to stay active and healthy, so I signed up to play hockey on two teams. Hockey was a large part of my life before fencing, so it was really fun to rediscover an old friend. For me, hockey is a great way to have fun while satisfying my competitive nature.
I really enjoyed the structured meal plan fencing had me following, so I took on a new challenge of creating my own meal plan. I felt I had become pretty knowledgeable about nutrition from having Steph Langdon as my dietician, and thanks to that I had a fun time coming up with meals that fit around my active lifestyle and my serious need for chocolate milk. I found that I was very passionate about nutrition, and after a few months I decided I would go back to school to work towards becoming a registered dietician.
Having a sense of purpose is an important feeling to me, and over the past seven months that feeling has ebbed and flowed, but along each peak and valley I have come to learn more and more about myself. I owe a lot of gratitude to my friends and family for helping me appreciate my accomplishments and for helping me through the hard times. I'm proud to have been a National Champion, and I'm proud of the man I am today. I have come to learn that a sense of purpose isn't something you stumble upon, but it is instead something you have to define for yourself.
I'm proud to have been a National Champion, and I'm proud of the man I am today.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to travel the world, compete against the very best and to have had support from so many people every step of the journey. Sport has taught me to be disciplined, hard-working, fearless and respectful. I’m happy to be bringing those qualities forward into my new life after athletics.
Thank you all for your unwavering support throughout my run at the Olympics. I couldn’t have done the many awesome things I did without you, and I look forward to bringing my positive experiences, and countless glasses of chocolate milk, forward into the next chapter of my life.