Yesterday (Friday May 15th 2015), I had a pretty rough training preparing for the Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro and while I was doing the dishes after my post training meal, I received a message from my friend in Vancouver. The national championships were held there this weekend but I could not attend because I had work and also I had to prepare for Rio. On Friday night, there was also the Canadian Fencing Federation (CFF) annual gala. My friend sent me a picture of a trophy with my name of it but I could not read it properly.
I did not even know I was a prospect for any category at the gala but I assumed it was something related to the silver medal I won at the Pan American Championships last month. I was happy to receive something from the CFF! I received a clearer picture few minutes later and I could read the whole thing. Athlete of the year given "In recognition of your outstanding record of performance while demonstrating exceptional talent, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of fencing”. I always did what I did without any expectation of having public appreciation of what I do and how I do it. I do it my way to be able to sleep at night and look back when I’ll be 60-70 on what I’ve done and still have no regret. But to be mentioned and rewarded with something like this is very flattering. It just tells me that what I’m trying to do is noticeable by others and also appreciated to a point to name me athlete of the year. It tells me that I am on the right path going in the right direction! Thank you all for the support and encouragement!
After the past 2 tournaments (Budapest and Santiago) in which I performed very well, my expectations for myself have been higher than they normally are. I placed unnecessary pressure onto myself - I was fencing a little too tense and hesitated during crucial moments. In short, I “psyched” myself out.
In my pool, there were 3 very strong fencers – but I could have easily won or lost against them. Because I pressured myself so much before the tournament, I lost my first three matches when I couldn’t do what I had to during the turning point of each bout.
I finished my pool with only 2 victories and 4 defeats. I did not make it out of individual pools and my day was over. I really hope that I have learned my lessons:
1) I need to fence in the moment, and pay attention to the present instead of thinking about the end result
2) I need to remember to enjoy the sport that I love.
I now have 2 weeks of training before the Grand Prix of Rio in Brazil (last qualifier for the Pan Am Games in Toronto and World Championships in Moscow). I’m not defeated – if anything, I’m more determined.
Time to go back to training and get my mind set on the good things!