By Ryan Szatmary, Vikes Communications
October 21, 2013, VICTORIA (ISN) – Not all athletes grow up playing the sport they eventually excel at. Some people go through their youth and arrive at university not planning on a career as a professional athlete.
While there are many factors that may lead to someone’s decision to commit to a sport, it can sometimes be as simple as the influence from a high-level facility to the thoughtfulness of a Christmas gift.
UVic alumni Anika Todd is an example of an athlete whose road to promise started later than most. While Anika had been involved in a number of sports and recreation activities growing up including rowing, running and swimming, it wasn’t until she received the gift of a road cycle from her then boyfriend on Christmas in 2011 that she turned her attention to the sport. Todd, who graduated from UVic in 2012 with a Bachelors in Biology, quickly became a prominent member of the Victoria cycling community.
“I started training in early 2012 and really committed myself so that by the spring of this year I was already racing,” says Todd. “My dedication really paid off in June as I finished second at the Canadian National Time Trial Championships.” It was that result at the national time trials that scored Anika a contract to ride with Tibco Women’s Racing Team for 2014.
Along with Anika’s drive to continue to build on a promising cycling career, she has also dedicated herself to helping support the next generation of local athletes, something which she believes the new CARSA facility will go a long way in providing.
“Most sports including cycling require a lot of strength and conditioning training both to improve performance and as injury prevention. The new center provides a convenient, first class facility to train in.”
She also hopes that CARSA can help unite the sports community around greater Victoria, which could help educate a larger population of some of the inequities remaining in the sports world.
“When I became involved in cycling, I was a shocked by some of the lack of equality that still remains in the sport. The largest event the sport has, The Tour de France is a man only event and most other events provide a smaller prize purse for women; even though, women and men race the same distance.”
It’s Anika’s hope that the centralization and community atmosphere that will be provided by CARSA will go a long way to reduce these flaws, while also offering a high-level facility to sculpt up-and-coming athletes who hope to make UVic proud.
In the meantime, Anika continues to move forward with her blossoming career, which in the past 12 months has allowed her to travel around BC, Washington, Quebec and even overseas to France and Belgium. Over the next year, she looks forward to qualifying for Canada at world class events such as the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
“I hope that any of my success can help inspire future local and UVic athletes who can use CARSA as a stepping stone to success.”
For more information on Anika’s up-to-date racing results or to find out more about her fight to allow women to race in The Tour de France, visit her blog atanikatodd.wordpress.com
For more information on CARSA please visit www.uvic.ca/carsa