A Bittersweet Victory!

Sometimes there are truly no words to express how you feel… and for someone like me who seems to always have a lot to say, at this moment I can truly say I am lost for words, but I will try.

Yesterday, I won my last Canadian Championship, but failed to jump the qualifying height for the Olympic Games.   A bittersweet victory.   After 8-Canadian Championship titles and being ranked number 1 in Canada for 16 years, this is my last and final year I will compete in the high jump.    And I will not be competing in London.

I am not as “devastated” as one might have anticipated I would be.   To say this year was tough is an understatement.   In fact, it was exactly a year ago today I was diagnosed with a complete rupture of my posterior tibialis tendon.  (This tendon is a big guy, starting from your inside ankle bone and wrapping under your foot to your toes.  It holds your arch up in your foot and allows you to push off the ground with your big toe.)  To sever this tendon is like jumping with no Achilles…. And I did it in less than a year without surgery!  With the exception of Scotty Pippen, I am the only elite athlete known to ever have done that!

However, I did have some glutes/hip issues and that became my “real” injury… Literally, a real pain in the ass!  At times I felt like my natural ability to jump had been stolen from me, like someone took my superpowers.    To adjust for my injury, there were some technical changes made to my high jump, which only seemed to magnify the problem, and cause a strain on my relationship with my coach.  The changes came from a good intentional place, but didn’t work for me.  In truth, I spent a good portion of the year frustrated.

But, I also overcame it!  I pushed through my fractured foot, ruptured tendon, non-working butt muscles, technical problems, and bruised confidence…  I did it, as best I could and left all of myself on the track, yesterday.  Without a doubt, I believe if I had just one more month I would have easily qualified for London, but, it is, what it is.  In the words of Benjamin Button:

“You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.”

And with that, I am okay, and savour the sweetness in ending my last Canadian Championship on an 8th victory…  Glass half full, there is much for me to be thankful for!  It’s hard to believe that this path I’ve been on as a world-class athlete for 14 years, occurred because Dave Hunt, a coach at the University of Toronto, stopped in for a Big Mac at McDonald’s on the day I just happened to be working there, and he asked me if I wanted to  learn how to high jump.  Many thanks to Dave, he has forever changed my life.

What I have achieved in track and field, I never could have dreamed it.  I have been ranked top 10 in the world, in the most competitive sport in the world!  With the exception of the Olympics and World Championships, I have medalled on every major games team I’ve been on.  I have set more records than I can count, including the Canadian Championships and Olympic Trials record.  I have travelled to places I never knew existed meeting some incredible people, who have helped to shape me.   My view on what is possible in life is now limitless.  And I am anxious to bring all that I’ve learned in the realm of Athletics to the real world of Life.

So, what’s next for me?  A WHOLE LOT!!!  I haven’t decided just yet if I am done competing this year.  I might finish off my career with a few more competitions… or not.  Who knows?  ;)  But, beyond track I do have a burning desire to help change the culture of sport in Canada.  I believe as a country we’re good but I know we can be great! (To go further into that topic is blog in of itself.)

 

Finally, I’d be remised if I didn’t thank the many people that have supported me and help me develop and last in the sport for as long as I have.   I must thank my family, friends and manager (Alfons Juck), whose support has been the wings that have carried me over some high heights.    My incredible medical team that have worked with me throughout my career have been angels in the dugout.  Often times, you see these great performances by us the athletes, but don’t see the medical staff who are working overtime to get every fiber of our body working as it should.  Thank you Visa for believing in me when others didn’t!  I cannot say enough for what Visa has done for me.  I might not have been an Olympian & Commonwealth Champion if it weren’t for their support!  Mizuno and Oakley have been incredibly loyal and good to me as well!  And a special, thank you to my strength trainer Dave Harris at Individual Performance, who has helped me in more ways than I count – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.  When I’ve been at my lowest he’s been there for me.  Sometimes you can’t put a price on that kind of support.  And I thank my coach James Henry, who took a chance on me when he offered me a full-scholarship to Michigan before I had even jumped anything special.  A very loooooong athlete-coach relationship, with highs and lows we’ve been through a lot.   Going to the University of Michigan has opened many doors for me and truly made me more than just an athlete.  I am an academic first, and have been able to use this balance to not lose my identity in my sport.  Being an athlete has always been something I do, but does not make me Nicole.  This can be a hard lesson to learn for many athletes, and I’m glad I’ve learned it.

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and in many ways that is the same when we talk about creating a world-class athlete.  None of us can make it on our own and I’m just grateful to the support I’ve miraculously been able to have along the way.

So incredibly thankful,

Nicole

8-Time Canadian Champion
20-Time National Team Member
Olympian
Commonwealth Games Gold & Bronze Medalist
Pan American Games Silver & Bronze Medalist
Francophone Games Siler & Bronze Medalist
World University Silver Medalist
Canada Games Champion
Canadian Championship & Olympic Trials Record Holder
Big Ten Conference & Championship Record Holder
University of Michigan Record Holder
…And a believer in the impossible being possible!

 

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER www.twitter.com/nicoleforrester

Written by

Dr. Nicole Forrester is an Olympian High Jumper, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Mental and High Performance Consultant, and Professor. She believes and is committed to the pursuit of excellence. Nicole is the founder of Optimal Zone Inc. a consultant company which specializes in helping athletes and organizations reach and sustain high performance through training and developmental programs. Additionally, she has worked as a reporter, television host and blogger with CBC, and has provided content and comment for CTV, Rogers and Discovery Health Channel. Her blogs include high performance and lifestyle. Occasionally, she likes to push the envelope, blogging on taboo topics she references as Achtung Series!

12 Comments to “A Bittersweet Victory!”

  1. A says:

    Thank you for representing our country over the years! It was a pleasure to see you compete and I wish you well in your future pursuits!

    • Thank you kindly! It has also been my pleasure wearing the Maple Leaf and proudly competing for Canada. Oh, Canada! in deed. Happy Canada day to you, and I would like to wish to you all the magic that life can offer you!

  2. Dave Hunt says:

    Hey Nicole.

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad I had the intelligence to ask a 6’4″ rake with Canada’s longest legs if she’d like to learn high jump. I am brilliant.

    Honestly, I came back to the counter to complain about a hair in the Quarter pounder you just served me. To this day you completely misunderstood me. I really said, “you best explain to me why a hair jumped out of my burger. Where’s the manager?”

    All kidding a side, you are a great champion and I enjoy laughing with you everytime you serve. I wish you’d stop asking me to supersize my meals already!

    Best wishes on the next exciting stage of your life!

    Dave

    • Dave!!!!
      All I can say is you had me laughing and now I have a permanent smile on my face. Honestly, it’s crazy how we each have the power to impact each other’s lives in transformational ways, and that is what you did for me. I don’t think I can ever thank you enough! And if my track career is any indication of what this next chapter of my life holds in store for me… I can’t wait!!!

      Thanks so much my dear friend!

      Much love!
      Nicole

  3. B says:

    A great posting! This should be read by aspiring young student athletes to understand some of what a world class athlete goes through, over many years, while pursuing a dream. You have a wise head on your shoulders, and a lovely heart to recognize all those that have helped you along the way. I hope that you will choose to work within the track and field community to show others that it’s a lot more than just being on the podium that’s important, and how to achieve balance in life as a competitive athlete.

    • Wow! Thanks for such kind words. I am moved. I actually have a great deal of plans in the works for the future. Last night I was so excited I could barely sleep. (Quite odd and conflicting feelings since I am disappointed I will not competing in London.) Later I’ll post just what it is I’ll be doing. But, I will say my passion for changing the culture of sport in Canada actually extends well beyond the boundaries of track & field and into other sports and recreation. I believe striving for the podium is important and worthy, but yes when we see sport only in those dimensions we truly limit the power that sport. Thanks again for you kind words! They made me smile!!!

  4. Dermott says:

    Without hesitation you shared your experience, knowledge, kind words and dare I forget, your high jump equipment. You’ve helped this developing high jump coach understand so much throughout our brief meetings. I have used this knowledge to help develop who can truly be the next best high jumper in this country of ours n Michelle. I only hope she will have the same enthusiasm, dedication, drive and humility as you. Words cannot express my appreciation of our meeting and friendship. I wish you well in all your future endeavours.

  5. Incredible blog Nicole, I think it should be required reading for all aspiring athletes on the value of the journey, and how to conduct yourself with class during set-backs and triumphs.

    In my experience, at the end of an athletic career some athletes allow their on-field accomplishments to remain the high-point of their lives, while others evolve beyond the role and their athletic feats become a very admirable footnote in a much larger, even more remarkable story.

    I am 100% confident that with your drive, ambition & intelligence this will be an incredible chapter about 1/3 of the way through your story.

    Congrats!

  6. Harold Carlson says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I have been enjoying the Olympics the past 2 weeks and thought about you earlier today, wondering if you were competing and how it went for you at the Olympics.

    What a great blog! First, let me congratulate you on your Canadian Championship! Second, I wish you the very best as you transition from being an elite athlete to whatever you decide to pursue. I know you will continue to inspire others as you did me during our class together.

    Harold

  7. [...] my love of track and field, my hot dates with Mr. Dissertation, taboo topics/opinions and being sidelined from the London 2012 Olympic Games because of a serious foot injury, and the list continues to grow.  [...]

  8. Thanks again for the post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

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