“It’s a very unique feeling – flying through the air.” That’s how Leanna Carriere describes her favorite athletic event, Pole vault.
It is all about pioneering, having been introduced as an Olympic event for women in 2000. Leanna excels, jumping the same heights as younger men. She follows her dreams to motivate and inspire others. She wants to show you can carry out things if you work hard, which is why she’s focused on decathlon.
Generally, women only do heptathlon. Leanna Carriere wants to change that. She pushed past an injury that side lined her pole-vault dreams for three years, with her first decathlon win in Vermont last year. She knows she might be too old by the time women can compete in Canada, but she perseveres. She hopes women and girls won’t feel discouraged from participating in a variety of events.
Perspiration Inspiration: Canadian Pole Vaulter Clears The Bar For Equality
Leanna’s life has been about surpassing barriers, on the field and personally. Beyond her injury, she’s battled ADHD and came back from a dissolved marriage, rebuilding her life from the ground up. She was recently named a Woman Of Vision by Global Edmonton. She took some time to speak with me about her story.
Q: Why decathlon?
I enjoy all the events. The women’s heptathlon doesn’t include pole-vault. For me, the decathlon is an event I where I can use all my abilities and still pole-vault.
Q: Why do you work so hard?
I know one day it will all pay off. I know what I want. I want to compete for Canada in the Olympics. It was instilled in me to get your goals you have to train as hard as you can. I want to represent Canada the best way I can, working hard.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about athletics?
I like to see how I can push my body. It’s amazing what the human body can do. For the most part, people have yet to tap into their full potential. It’s neat to see the changes and adaptations the body can make.
Q: What was it like not pole –vaulting after your injury?
I practiced new events and learned new skills. I missed the thrill of pole vaulting but it made me a better athlete with a good base.
Q: How did personal challenges impact your athletic performance?
I had to rebuild a couple of times, each time asking “How can I build my life so I can become a better athlete? How can I situate myself so I can excel?” Instability is hard and it’s hard to do this on your own. Sports helped me stay on track for school, and stay focused, investing my high energy in a positive area.
Q: How do you stay motivated?
I go back to my goals. My coaches hold me accountable. I never want to let people down. I pay for my coaches, training, gym fees and I want to make the most of it. I have motivational things on my fridge, like what I need to do to get to the Olympics.
Q: What advice would you have for someone just becoming active?
Stay with it. Going to the gym is hard without a goal. Be passionate and excited about your goal, whether it’s to lose 10 pounds or enter a 5k race. There has to be meaning to showing up. Goals can change.
Stay with it. Going to the gym is hard without a goal. Be passionate and excited about your goal. – Leanne CarriereTweet This!
Q: How do sports impact how you see your body?
Growing up, we had body image issues in our family, including obesity and eating disorders. Lifting weights and feeling fit gives an endorphin rush: you feel strong and confident. When my mom works out, there’s a change in her attitude; it provides confidence. With training, your body will feel better because you are sweating, eating better, and seeing the outcome of your hard work.
A Gold Medal Attitude will Carry You Far in Life
Leanna Carriere is an inspirational athlete who moves for a purpose. She has dreams not just for herself, but for future female athletes.
How can movement help you achieve your dreams? Can you get out there and help someone else achieve theirs?
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Alison Tedford is a freelance writer from Abbotsford, BC. She is a single mom who documents her journeys in parenting, fitness and feminism on Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops
Read on as she contributes motivational stories in her column, #PerspirationInspiration, right here on the Moose is Loose.