My name is Sarah Wells and I am a Canadian Olympic 400-meter hurdler who is training to be one of the best in the world. I invite you to join my community and follow my bi-weekly blog posts on Beyond Borders, as I write about topics that range from training, nutrition, failures, successes and all that’s in between.
My story as a hurdler began at the age of 15, but the biggest hurdle I have faced so far in my career came just over one year before the London 2012 Olympics. In February 2011, as I was training for London qualifiers, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left femur (thigh bone). A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone caused by repetitive stress, over training, and not allowing sufficient time to recover. The injury would sideline me for nine long months. Every morning during my recovery I woke up and visualized the interval training that I could no longer do. I went to rehab to do my corrective exercises and maintain whatever strength I could. And I did deep water running for hours each day to maintain my aerobic fitness.
With the Olympic year fast approaching, I was eager to get back on the track following my grueling recovery and rehabilitation program. Considering London was only eight months away and I not only had to regain my fitness level and then improve upon it to hit Olympic standard, few people believed I would be able to compete in the Games. However, I surrounded myself with an integrated team of physicians, coaches, family, and friends, which enabled me to train, perform and remain realistic about this seemingly impossible dream. Fortunately, through hard work, perseverance and an unwavering belief in myself, I ran Olympic standard, won the Canadian championships, and was named to the 2012 Canadian Olympic team.
Following the Olympics, I continued to improve my time and remained the number one ranked 400-meter hurdler in Canada. But what most people don’t know is that in 2014 I was diagnosed with the same femoral stress fracture for a second time. This was devastating as I had already overcome this injury and wondered why I had to go through this again. But guess what? I did get through it! I am now back to full-time training and I have my first few competitions coming up. In fact, I am writing this from San Diego, California, where I will compete at the United States Olympic Training Center as well as the University of California later this week . I am ready to battle to the top again and, if anyone can do it, I know it’s me. I’ve done it once, and I will do it again!
So follow along, comment and share! I look forward to continuing this journey with my ‘community’ behind me!
Barrick is the exclusive supplier of gold, silver and copper for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
The gold for the athlete medals is from Barrick's Hemlo mine in Canada; the silver comes from the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic; and the copper used to make the bronze medals comes from the Zaldívar mine in Chile.
The Pan Am Games will run from July 10–26 followed by the Parapan Am Games August 7–15.
Watch the amazing stories of teamwork, perseverance and excellence behind the medals: