COVID…a huge challenge but also a potential to find an opportunity?

As COVID struck the world and brought devastation to so many we were reminded that there are more important things than sport.  As the Olympic & Paralympic Games were rightly postponed, we as Paracanoe athletes were faced with the startline being only 162 days away suddenly slipping to 527 days. Together with most of the world, we too were ‘lockdown’ in our houses. 

The reality of training in a bungalow with little equipment and no lake hit home.  But there were more important things going on and our job quickly became about making the most of what we had and doing our best. Not a bad mindset for life!

We emptied the garage, filled it with bits and bobs of gym equipment and had a paddle ergo machine in our garden under a gazebo from the 1990s!  We cracked on doing what we could.  It was challenging, of course, but we made the most of it and actually found the 15 weeks quite surprisingly good!  We made good physical gains, we enjoyed the extra time at home, and I realised I can have a better sport:life balance and still be a world-class athlete at the top of their game!

Finally, in June, we were back on the water and the kayak, my more unstable boat had taken a real hit.  Disability is a real issue for stability, so I struggled for many weeks regaining the usual stable base I had worked so hard for.  We have taken huge learnings from our ‘COVID time’ and made changes that we will keep forever. Mostly about being kind to ourselves, looking for positives and having conversations at the right time to get more out of each and every one of us.