Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Island Olympian sets sights on Beijing

Island Olympian sets sights on Beijing
Kara Grant preparing for next step
The Guardian

Stratford’s Kara Grant is in heavy training for the World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 19.
The event is another step in the P.E.I. Olympian’s journey to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
The P.E.I. native, who competed in the 2004 Olympics, trains mostly in Fredericton, N.B., and has about 10 different coaches.
“With five sports I have a lot of people helping me.”
Other than training for the five events — riding, running, swimming, shooting and fencing — Grant does core strengthening, stretching and Pilates, “to make sure I’m strong and fit,” she said.
After an intense lead-up to competitions, Grant says she finds time to relax.
During competitions there is free time and she can socialize with the other competitors she has come to know in the circuit.
Relaxing is something the busy athlete enjoys when she visits the Island, as well. Whether it’s visiting her grandparents, walking her dog, walking on the beach, kayaking, or just laying on the couch at her parents’ house, P.E.I. is a retreat for her.
“I try to be able to have some downtime when I’m here,” she said.
With five very different events making up the modern pentathlon there is always a leg of the competition that poses a challenge.
For Grant it’s swimming.
Grant knows she’s never going to be an amazing swimmer but she strives to improve within her limitations.
“Swimming is one of those events where there definitely is some natural ability and feel.
“I’m fortunate that I’m pretty good at the other events.”
Having grown up riding horses, her favourite event is riding. It can also be frustrating because competitors draw for their horse and two riders ride each horse and if an athlete gets a mount after a less experienced rider the horse may not perform as well.
“There’s just a little bit of the unexpected in that,” she said.
Grant is part of Aliant Canada Contenders: Beijing Edition, a sponsorship program that follows athletes in their quest to the Games.
People can keep track of Grant’s progress in the interactive coverage of her training and competing online.
This program was announced at the Aliant Swing to Beijing Kara Grant tournament at Brudenell Golf Course in July 2007.
Grant’s budget is high but she is fortunate her sponsors have relieved her of this worry.
“It’s nice to know that that’s taken care of.”
Grant always knows the Island is cheering for her, she said.
“I appreciate all of the support over my pentathlon career. For me it’s been really important knowing my family and community is behind me.”
Big goals are attainable, Grant wants everyone to know.
“Islanders can achieve great things.”

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