Hometown: Newmarket, Ont.
Sport: High Jump
Nicole Forrester is a veteran member high jumper who has represented Canada in many international events.
She is a vibrant, exciting and passionate athlete
who is as proud to represent her country as you can possibly imagine. She's completing her PHD in Sports Psychology.
She's a talented and engaging athlete. We've known that for quite some time as she wrote for CBCSports.ca during the Beijing Olympics where she was a competitor.
She is the Canadian high jump champion, winning that title this summer in Calgary, but unfortunately she did not meet the Olympic qualifying height.
Here are her answers to questions from Josh Cassidy.
Her Olympic Event:
How have you been managing your studies with training?
Nicole: Being a 'student-athlete' has required some balancing of time, patience and focus. I have found together they allow me to excel in both endeavors - academics and athletes. There have certainly been times where I felt like it was challenging...you know those nights where you have to pull an all-nighter and still show up to practice the next day. But by and large, the immense discipline required is an incredible skill I've had to learn, which has helped allow me to be successful.
Josh: You have an interest in sport psychology. As an athlete you know the mental aspect is an imperative part of success. Who has been your greatest mentor and do you have examples of advice that stands out?
Hmmm....That is an interesting question. Certainly, studying sport psychology has been a tremendous advantage when it comes to my athletic performance. I believe my greatest strength is the ability to perform exceptionally under the most challenging circumstances, and I credit that to my mental acuity, one of the skills I've had to learn over time.
I've been fortunate to work with some great sport psychologist, including Dan Gould, Judy Goss and Peter Jensen. One of the best bits of advice I have ever been told was from Dan Gould. He said to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to performing at the Olympic Games.
In Beijing, three days before the qualifying round I rolled my ankle and tore three ligaments in my jump foot. I learned then what Dan meant by expecting the unexpected. I was unable to walk and had seriously sprained my ankle. In spite of this I made up my mind to jump the best I could. And I did. I narrowly missed the finals. To this day I don't know how I did it, but I did. I chose not to dwell on the severity of my injury or how much pain I was in, or the feeling that my dream of performing incredibly well at the Olympic Games had been hampered. Instead, I focused only on how to swiftly adapt to the situation at hand
Josh: You seem outspoken, and obviously enjoy writing and blogging. What is one topic (athletic or not) you haven't covered? I'm thinking either because you are still unsure yourself how you feel about it, perhaps it is a big topic to undertake, or maybe it is 'in the devil's territory'...
Great question, my answer could get me into trouble. (LOL!) There are a lot of blogs I'd like to write which I haven't just yet. I just wrote one of my more controversial blogs titled Are All Gold Medals Equal?
Another one I'd like to tackle would be with regards to the trouble with sport in Canada and the direction we are going with a podium focus. It would be the antithesis to Own The Podium and I'm not sure that would curry a warm reception. I'll likely write it - but maybe in the form of a book.
I believe Canada has the ability to be the leader in sport in the world, but do I believe we are moving in that direction with sustainability in place? I'm not sure we are. Along that line I would also like to write on the problem with our health care system, which seems to take a symptomatic approach, as opposed to being proactive in promoting health. You can probably guess I'd weave the value of sport as a solution into that blog. ;)
Josh: What do you think is the biggest thing you are still learning or perfecting as an athlete?
Belief/Confidence. He's a tricky fellow because he is very unstable. For all of us, confidence is influenced most by our past performances. But, you can't change the past. Past performance can make you overconfident or lack confidence. Balancing confidence and manipulating it is a dance I've worked on for the majority of my athletic career. I definitely use my sport psychology knowledge to try and master belief/confidence. To master confidence is to unlock the door to consistent phenomenal performances.
Josh: What do you think most people do not know about life as a high jumper, which everyone SHOULD know?
There are two things most people SHOULD know about high jumpers but probably don't. One, we rarely jump in practice. It takes a tremendous amount of force to jump. We are applying anywhere from four to 10 times our body weight on a single jump. As a result, it would be virtually impossible to jump every day in training. Instead, we do A LOT of sprinting, plyometrics and of course weight training.
Secondly, besides pole vault, the high jump is the only event to end on a failure. That means even if you win, there is a height we failed to clear. Talk about bouncing back from failure!
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