I can't believe how fast the time has gone.
It seems like only yesterday that I sat down to my computer to write about getting ready for the Canadian Olympic trials
. Now, my days in Sardinia for staging camp are dwindling and I have to start thinking about repacking my suitcase and getting on my last flight before I walk into the Olympic Village.
Thinking about it makes me nervous and excited at the same time, and I've spent the last two weeks drifting back and forth between confident and terrified about the "what ifs." But whenever those nagging doubts creep in, I close my eyes and imagine myself on the top of the podium singing O Canada
. I run through the entire anthem in my head: that seems to put those doubts in their place.
Like she sensed a disturbance in the force, my older sister Jane sent me a motivational email when I was in my worst moment of doubt.
"Doubt is your mind playing tricks on you," she wrote. "Don't let the doubts win. You are ready!" And they say that only twins have that kind of connection. Best. Camp. Ever.
Since I'll be boarding a flight to London on Tuesday, this will be my last blog entry before the Olympic Games. Because of IOC rules, I'm not allowed to be both a journalist and an athlete once I enter the Olympic Village, and clearly, being an athlete is my priority. So I'd like to say thank-you to everyone who has followed my journey so far, from my first post before I headed off to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi back in the fall of 2010 until today. I guess I'll see you on the other side, when the medals have been won and lost, the Olympic torch lit and extinguished, and athletes made into heroes.
We've been in Sardinia for almost two weeks now, and aside from a sore day here or there, it's been my best staging camp ever. Maybe it's because I decided beforehand that I would make
it my best camp ever, or maybe it's just the cards falling into place. Either way, I'll fly away from this tiny island with significantly more confidence than when I landed here.
The highlight of our team camp is always the "rookie night" when every member of the team - staff included - who has never been to the Olympics does a skit of some sort. Naturally, the rookies usually aim their disdain over being forced out of their comfort zones at the veterans, and I was not immune!
I must say, however, my Victoria Academy of Swimming teammate Blake Worsley does a very accurate impersonation of me, making fun of everything from my tattoos to my nerves to my blog. We all had a good, much-needed laugh, and for one night the pressure of what we're about to embark on was lifted, at least a little bit.Very superstitious
Once we arrive in London, the pressure will be full-force. We'll have to get our accreditations, pick up our team uniforms and settle into our rooms. Plus, as tradition dictates, I'll have to find time to get my nails done in London! Unfortunately, there was no nail salon here in Sardinia, but, like the trained diva that I am, I've been doing my research and know exactly where to go once I arrive in London.
You might laugh, but I don't mess with my superstitions. I'll be ready to compete once I have my over-the-top manicure on my hands and my lucky green sports bra on under my track jacket. I may be a two-time Olympian, but the 14-year old who refused to drink anything but "lucky" purple Gatorade at swim meets is still kickin' deep down inside me.
The brunt of the physical work is done. I've been preparing for this swim meet for 17 years, so now it's about staying calm, confident, and, most importantly, having fun. After all, this is what I dreamed about when I swam at the Stratford, Ont., YMCA all those early mornings while my friends slept in after a night out. I know that when I walk out for that 4x100 freestyle relay on Day 1, I'll be the happiest girl in the world. I get to be on the relay that represents an entire country! How lucky am I?
Part of staying calm and confident is looking for the positive in everything. The good omens. At first, I was turning every tiny thing into a "sign" just for the sake of being positive: a little green frog landed on my kickboard my second practice here, so I figured that was a sign of good things to come.
But now, after two weeks of searching them out, the good omens are finding me. Mark Tewksbury is our chef de mission: he was the last Canadian to win a gold medal in swimming - in the 100 backstroke (one of my events) nonetheless - and he just happened to be our chef this year. I'll take that as a sign.
As my friends from other sports and other countries move into the village, my social media is blowing up about village life. And, whenever they post from within the village, their location is listed as "Olympic Village - Stratford." Well, I guess that means something, right?
It looks like it's going to end where it all began. And I've never been more ready.
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