Melissa Bishop credits Dennis Fairall for her track success

Melissa Bishop is getting set to start training for her second Olympic run in Rio de Janeiro this summer, and she’ll be doing it alongside the coach with the most wins in Canadian university track and field history — Dennis Fairall.

'Dennis is a genius,' Olympian says heading into Rio 2016

Melissa Bishop and Dennis Fairall have been a team for nine years. This summer they'll be heading to Rio de Janiero for their second Olympics. (Melissa Bishop)

Melissa Bishop is getting set to start training for her second Olympic run in Rio de Janeiro this summer, and she'll be doing it alongside the coach with the most wins in Canadian university track and field history, Dennis Fairall.

Fairall owns 25 Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships, 46 Ontario University Athletics championships and 65 combined track and cross-country coach of the year awards as head coach at the University of Windsor.

"Dennis is a genius," Bishop told CBC News. "With Dennis, it isn't one workout fits all. It's one workout for one person, depending on what their skills are, their level and what kind of fitness they're at."  

For the past nine years, he's been Bishop's personal coach.

That stretch, which began when Bishop was a student in Windsor, Ont. includes a 2012 Olympic appearance, a 2015 Pan Am Games gold and a silver at the 2015 International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) world championships.

She also holds the Canadian record in the indoor and outdoor 800m.

Bishop, originally from Eganville, Ont., is part of an event honouring Fairall's career at the university. Fairall stepped aside from the Lancers last season for health reasons, but he's still coaching Bishop.

"It hasn't had any effect on his ability to coach me," Bishop said. "Things have remained the same since he stepped down from the head coaching position. If anything he can give me more attention."

The two communicate regularly through email, with Fairall sending her detailed instructions and feedback on her training. He remains as detailed and as superstitious as always, Bishop said.

During a race in Ireland, Bishop said Fairall wore the same clothes and stood in the same spot throughout the preliminaries. He was there in that same blue track suit when she broke the Canadian indoor 800m record in the final.

Fairall was with her three days later in Glasgow when she broke the record again.

"He's the boss behind everything, he's the mind, he writes the program," Bishop said. "I just happen to be a product of what Dennis is creating. Dennis is a very humble man, Dennis would never take credit for all of this, but it's truly his life's work."


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