Rosie ready: Olympic champ MacLennan in fine form ahead of worlds
Canadian trampolinist looking ahead to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
With two Olympic titles under her belt, Canadian trampolinist Rosie MacLennan is taking the long view this quadrennial as she looks ahead to the Tokyo Games.
MacLennan overcame injuries in the leadup to the 2016 Rio Olympics before defending her title. With an eye on 2020, she ended her season prematurely last fall to let her body fully heal.
It has been a slow but steady return to form. MacLennan finally felt like her normal self again at a World Cup in Portugal in early October and is confident ahead of next week's world championship in Russia.
"It was quite a long process," MacLennan said. "But I wanted to take the time and do it right to give me more of that long-term stability and strength that I would need over the course of the next year-and-a-half or two years."
The 30-year-old Toronto resident battled concussion symptoms ahead of Rio and had to dial back her final routine at the Games. Her impressive mix of flips, twists and jumps was enough to outscore her opponents even though it was a more conservative effort.
MacLennan wants to be able to push the limits like she did at the London Games. She was an underdog back in 2012 and was rewarded for nailing a very challenging routine.
She took time off after the Rio win but dealt with some "residual issues" when she started ramping things up last year. Doctors eventually pinpointed that the issue was with her neck — not her head — and the instability in the area got progressively worse the more she jumped.
Rather than continue to train through it, she shut things down.
"It was more with the long-term objective of qualifying for Tokyo and being at my best there," MacLennan said. "It was a smarter decision to call that season early so that I could focus on rebuilding the strength in my neck, focusing on and addressing some of the imbalances and building back up there. It was a short-term fast decision with a long-term objective in mind."
The neck pain created tension in MacLennan's upper back, shoulders and jaw. After a few months off, she started light jumping in January, tried a competition in June and built up her height, difficulty and execution over the summer.
"I have a lot more clarity on the trampoline than I've had in years," she said.
MacLennan will also compete in the synchronized competition with Sarah Milette of Longueuil, Que. They were victorious in Portugal in their first World Cup together.
"I think it'll be a really strong pair," MacLennan said. "She's a really strong competitor and a very good trampolinist. She's definitely one of the up-and-coming talents in Canada and one to keep an eye on individually as well."
Sophiane Methot of La Prairie, Que., and Toronto's Samantha Smith round out Canada's individual women's roster. Methot is tabbed to compete with Toronto's Rachel Tam in the synchro.
MacLennan, who won a world title in 2013, took the individual silver in Portugal.
Today, and everyday I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love, to represent this country and for all the people who support me along the way. I’m thankful for the journey and progress and all the lessons that sport has taught me. Here’s my routine from Loulé! <a href="https://t.co/5km4kPSQ7n">pic.twitter.com/5km4kPSQ7n</a>—@RosieMacLennan
"This year was definitely a bit of a building year," she said. "But it feels really great to be back competing at the international level. I'm really excited about worlds. My body feels better than it has in a long time. I feel stronger, I feel healthier and I feel like I have finally built back the momentum in my training."
The Olympic qualification process kicks off in February. The Tokyo Games begin in July 2020.
"What I'm hoping for over the next two years is having the type of training where I can push those limits rather than focusing on maintaining or sustaining myself," MacLennan said.
The men's individual team for the world championship includes Montreal's Jeremy Chartier, Jason Burnett of King Township, Ont., Keegan Soehn of Red Deer, Alta., and Jake Cranham of Mississauga, Ont. Chartier will team with Soehn in the synchro while Burnett will compete with Cranham.
Tumbling and double mini-trampoline events are also on the world championship schedule. Competition begins Nov. 7 at the St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex.