Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Visualizing victory with cyclist Kelsey Mitchell

The Player's Own Voice podcast pedals along with Kelsey Mitchell, whose zero-to-hero journey from non-cyclist to Olympic gold was a shockingly brief two years.

Canada's most recent medallist prior to Beijing 2022 shares her memories

Team Canada's Kelsey Mitchell reacts after winning the gold medal during the track cycling women's sprint race at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in August 2021. (Christophe Ena/The Associated Press)

Just before the Beijing Games got underway, we pedalled up alongside Canada's most recent Olympic medallist — track cyclist Kelsey Mitchell.

Her gold medal was the final capping glory on Canada's Tokyo campaign. Player's Own Voice podcast host Anastasia Bucsis believes that Olympians — regardless of winter or summer specialization — can always learn from one another. So she went to Mitchell for insight and advice on getting into medal contention.

Mitchell's trip to the top followed an unusual course. She had barely pedalled a bike two years before Tokyo when the track team brought her into the fold, straight from an RBC training ground tryout. There certainly wasn't a 10-year master plan to look back on.

Mitchell, like many athletes, is evidence that visualisation works. In fact, she couldn't help herself, vivid images of being decorated with the gold medal would play in her head at all hours of the day and night. She almost had to work at not visualizing.

Mitchell also confides that the oldest advice in the game really works for her: Trust the process. Trust your training. Do the work and have confidence in your build up. That way, when life throws curve balls, such as: a week before her Olympic races, Mitchell came down with a gnarly cold, an athlete doesn't need to panic. Coughs will cease, noses will stop running, and a lifetime — or at least a couple of years — of hard work will take over from there.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, POV podcast lets athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective. Mitchell has also written a fine essay about her seemingly sudden arrival on the world scene. 

A transcript is available for our hard of hearing audience. To listen to Kelsey Mitchell or any of the guests from earlier episodes, and more Canadian athletes throughout the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, head to CBC Listen — or wherever you get your podcasts.

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