Bailey Stonham

Canadian Natural Luge athlete

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How being an OCR athlete has helped me in Luge and in life

Obstacle Course racing has taught me how to face challenges in life head on. How to find a way, over, under, around or through an obstacle that might come my way.

Life isn't easy and  its not always fair and things in life wont always be handed to you. You have to work for the things you want out of life. Their will be obstacles along the way to challenge you, these obstacles are there to determine wether or not you're willing to work for what you want and if what you want is worth fighting for.

This really came to reality for me when covid hit. It definitely affected my athletic career. However!! I didn't let it stop me !! I kept training ( to the best of my ability at home ) I built a squat rack and saved up money to buy weights. I focused on school and work. I made honour roll. i put my first car on the road. I kept busy, so when my next opportunity to pass this obstacle came about I would be ready. 

And ready I was!!

See, not only am I an OCR athlete, I am also a luge athlete. I represent Canada in the sport of luge. I have always participated in sports and when I was recruited to the Canadian National Luge Development Team i jumped with two feet in. My first time on ice was in Lake Placid (one of the most technical tracks in North America ). Three weeks later I was flying out to Calgary then Whister BC. I hit 3 out of 4 luge tracks in North America my first season. (The Calgary track later closed that year leaving only 3 tracks) 

I was the first female in luge in over 25+ years to be representing Ontario and Eastern Canada.

Then covid hit.... I was no longer able to travel as we were in lockdown.

But, as the saying goes, when one door closes another opens. And I was ready!! Lockdown was lifted and I was asked to attend a camp in Italy for Natural Luge. It consists of the same concepts of an athlete sliding down an icy surfaced track on a sled. However, the tracks for Natural Luge are set up all over in Europe, on tobogganing hills and ski hills. It is a sport that is hugely popular in European Countries but practically unheard of here in Canada.

I was hooked!

I trained and competed in a World Cup race and now I'm representing Canada in Natural Luge, not only as one of the first female athletes but as one of the first ever athletes in the sport to represent Canada.

My experiences with obstacle course racing and the will to never give up has definitely helped me. Competing in OCR teaches you to adapt to situations and conquer obstacles that may be put in your way. And as in life those obstacles that may arise.

When you set goals and you work towards them you might hit challenges along the way, your goals may even change or the way you reach your goals might change, either way, if you stay dedicated, you keep working, you pass those obstacles, YOU WILL SUCCEED!

Believe in yourself!

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