26. 9. 2013

My road to Sochi: Megan Imrie "I feel faster already“

There has to be all upside down these days in Falcon Lake, Manitoba. The biathlon girl who grew on a ranch there goes for the Olympic Games. No, it wasn´t easy, just like before Vancouver Olympics four years ago.
But Megan Imrie made her dream come true again. So we talked a little bit and here´s her story.

The way to Olympics – a hard track
Some might think - you are in National Biathlon Union, you race World Cups, you are one of the bests in your country so it has to be an honor to send you to Olympic Games to make a great result for your country. No, it isn´t like that.
Maybe for the reason, biathlon is not so popular in Canada. Like Megan said:

“Hardly anyone knows about biathlon in Canada. This is also because it is not on TV here. If we had a station like Eurosport over here, I think it would drastically help our numbers. Every channel is hockey.”

So after all the difficulties, why biathlon? What is so fascinating on it? Why do not make the change and try a different sport? Or just race then for another country just like some other biathletes with the same problem do?

"Biathlon was one I'd been exposed to since I was little. It is much more exciting than just doing one event. It's so difficult to have the 'perfect race', I think that brings a big challenge. Whenever I spend too much time in the penalty loop, or when it's -30 I wish I had done something like tennis or golf. And I would only ever race for Canada." 

So Megan went on the hard track to race in Sochi for Canada without funding support. Her´s cost in (training and race fees alone) to be able to qualify for the Olympics was $10,000. Yes, the cost „was“, not the cost „is“, because great things happened.

Pre-Olympic déjà-vu
Do you remember the days before Vancouver 2010? There was the same problem with funding. Megan with her teammates did something special to get more support and to get the possibility to race at Olympics. By knowing the advertising principle “Sex sells” they made a nude calendar. Maybe you own one and you still have it on your wall, I was wondering if Canadian women´s biathlon team would do the same thing this year.  

“We won't do another calendar. Funding here must be creative and quick. After all, we are athletes and must train, not just take photos and sell calendars all year. It is really tough to do, and I don't have time for it in the Olympic year.”

Special funding. Nude calendar helped Canadian biathletes to participate at Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010

                                            Pre-Olympic projectImagination of origins of biathlon with Megan an Rosanna Crawford
So Megan chose another and really great possibility. Something new and original made her even closer to her fans and supporters than just looking at them naked from the wall. She made a right decision.

The helpfull „kick in the butt“ - Pursu.it
The micro funding platform Pursu.it became helpful for many other Canadian athletes which live their dreams. It is a vehicle offering the world of fans and supporters a personal connection to Canadian athletes on their journey to success. The project has a personalized video, fundraising target and deadline. (Megan´s campaign is over now, but you can still support her teammates Zina Kocher and Rosanna Crawford)

With each donation, Megan “give back”. You could become her pen pal, receive personalized cards, newsletter of trainings, sign skis or even you could be read on her equipment as a sponsor.

Sochi – here she comes
Megan was born on Valentine´s day and it seems she has a lot of love around her. She achieved her pursuit goal and she earned even more money than the goal was. Thanks to all her fans around the globe. But they are not just fans. From now they are also members of her team. After recovery from the injury, the best help to make her stronger and faster to achieve her Olympic goals.
“Missing the world cup races last year was what my body needed. I was too tired and sick from training that if I didn't take time off then, I wouldn't be able to train this year. Now enthusiasm of my supporters brings my game to a new level. My ambitions in Sochi? I would be satisfied with a top 15 but of course I dream of more."

From now Megan can pass her training camps with such great motivation, she knows that everything what she does has sense. Actually she moves to Le Grand Bornand in France to compete in the World Cup Stage 3. And she has a message for you:
 “Work hard and make your dreams a reality. It can and does happen!

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