Welcome to the CAN Fund Athlete Blog!
This is where Canadian Athletes will be posting as they train and prepare to represent Canada on the World Stage! Keep up to date on when and where our athletes are training and competing!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DAVID FORD- Canoe/Kayak

 As in most years for the past decade the paddling world has converged on Australia for warm weather training and a start to the racing season.
For me this means an opportunity to paddle with the best slalom paddlers in the sport and not only test my skills but also learn some new things that keep the sport fresh. This has really been the secret to longevity in our sport, the willingness to learn and expand as both an athlete and as a person. In my 26 years on the Nationals team I have seen my sport go from a non-Olympic event (we were pulled from the Games after 1972) to a once again full fledged member of the Olympic program. In that time the sport has evolved and grown and I have had to grow with it.
This growth will certainly make this an interesting race. I have been working very hard on “modernizing” my technique, working with current world champion Danniele Molmenti and 2009 World Champion Peter Kauzer trying to tap into what it is that makes them the top athletes in our sport. I have also designed a new boat for this year with an eye on the London Olympic course and it is becoming quite a popular design. I haven’t felt this balanced in my boat in a few years and it is nice to be comfortable in such a dynamic sport that requires you to be at one with your equipment. On the flip side I decided to test a new paddle design this week and while I really like the power this paddle gives me, I am far from “at one” with the paddle and it catches me off guard from time to time. I should be fine for the race but you never know what might come up with a new paddle. Fingers crossed.
To be competitive in any sport today you need support, flights, rental cars, equipment and site access fees not to mention the thousands of calories you need to consume every week really add up. I was reminded today how important the CAN FUND is to my efforts when I was surprised to learn that I had to pay the entry fee for the first major international competition of the year myself. A small thing on the face of it but without this crucial support not only would I not be able to be here to train, I wouldn’t even be able to race for my country.
I am also very lucky to have my wife, Olympic Alpine Skier Kelly VanderBeek here in Australia with me. She is still recovering from a devastating knee injury that happened just before last years Olympic Games in Vancouver. Everything looks great but a second surgery was required and she is recovering here in Australia and supporting me at the river. Quite a treat for us as typically at this time of year we are on different continents, me in plus 40 weather and Kelly deep in minus temperatures. We are definitely trying to make the most of a trying situation.

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