After a huge disappointment at Canoe Slalom World Championships in Deep Creek USA (2014), I had to take a huge step back and reevaluate my priorities. I was juggling my personal life, my school ambitions, my career and of course my canoe slalom aspirations. The results had taken a toll on me, lack of funding and politics were also laying another huge stress on my shoulder, and these seemed to be overpowering the true reason I entered canoeing – pure happiness on the water. I needed to take a breather and really take a look at my priorities. I thought to myself… School should be my most important priority. I should finish as quickly as possible and get a good paying job, because that’s what most average young adult aspire to do.
In September 2014, after being accepted to study abroad for a semester at Sciences Po Paris, I was prepared to live a new adventure – that of living a “normal” student life. It was a heck of an adventure, I lived unforgettable experiences. After doing this I can honestly say that I highly recommend every student to take the leap and study abroad. I learnt to live on my own in a new country, I had great professors who taught me many different interesting subjects, made amazing friends, and even got to meet THE President of France. Sadly, canoe slalom training wasn’t in the cards for me. Training in Paris is very challenging hard since there are no gates, there are no places to store boats, gyms are expensive and leaving every weekend is too costly. Nonetheless, I knew this was going to be the case therefore I wasn’t surprised. I thought to myself, I’m prepared to take a big break from slalom training. I think I needed to leave to see if I really wanted to come back.
In January 2015, after coming back home in from studying abroad in, I restarted living the “normal” student life that I had challenged myself to experience for a change. That meant no winter training camps, no United Arab Emirate training camp, no Australia, etc… On one hand this choice was purposely taken to take a good step back, but also partially because I didn’t have the financial means to afford these types of trips. Other then friend and family support, I received provincial funding from Quest for Gold thanks to my national results and ranking. This has been a huge help and is one of the few supporters that has funded my international expenses. Thanks to Quest for Gold, I was able to go to U23 World Championships in Australia! But even with that, it was still not enough and still indebted myself. Unfortunately for me, since canoe slalom still suffers extreme gender inequity – female canoeist do not have the same chance as men to compete at the Olympics. Although my sport is an Olympic sport, and eligible for carding, the C1W discipline is still prohibited from competing therefore, we are also prohibited from receiving many different funds such as “Canadian Carding”. I want to clarify that my sole dream is not to go to the Olympics, if I paddle it’s because it brings me joy… and by chance since I was little, I have always preferred canoeing over kayaking… I think my main problem with this whole ordeal, is that women aren’t given an equal chance to receive support and to compete… No athlete likes to be prevented from competing.
….On the bright side of things, here are a few extra shots among many taken during my great experince in Paris.