Olympian to watch: Sarah Wells

Last week I was invited by Nike to watch the unveiling of the new Nike Canadian track and field uniforms that will be on display at this year’s Olympic Summer Games in London. They are very snazzy!! I wouldn’t mind one of those nice running tanks for myself.

Canada's track and field athletes show off the new Nike uniforms that will be on display at the Summer Games. From left to right: Justyn Warner (100m & 4x100m), Phylicia George (100m hurdles), Sarah Wells (400m hurdles)

Though I was lucky enough to meet a few athletes who will be participating in the Olympics, I got to spend some time chatting with Canadian hurdler Sarah Wells. She is 21 years old, cute as a button and is really excited about participating in the Olympics. And I look very forward to cheering her and the rest of the track and field team on once the Games begin.

Sarah Wells will be competing in the Summer Olympic Games in the 400m hurdles event.

Canadian Living: How excited are you?
Sarah Wells: I’m very excited. I couldn’t explain this feeling to anyone even if I tried. It’s priceless, really.

CL: How are your nerves?
SW: I think Olympic Trials were a good practice for me. My goal this year was to make it on the team, so I think my nerves were probably higher for that, and so dealing with those nerves will help me manage them on the world stage. I’ll be freaking out a little bit, but hopefully I’ll be able to handle it as well as I did at Olympic Trials.

CL: Do you have an pre-competition rituals?
SW: I always eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich before I compete. I have to eat that. I listen to the exact same playlist in the exact same order.

CL: What’s on your playlist?
SW: I listen to songs centered around the concept of believe. (I have the word tattooed on my wrist, actually.) I listen to Nikki Yanofsky, the old Olympic song from 2010, and there’s another song by Yolanda Adams that’s also called Believe. And there’s Kris Allen’s No Boundaries — he’s one of the Canadian Idols.

CL: What else to eat to prepare you for competition?
SW: Obviously as an athlete you have to be careful not to eat a bunch of junk food. I don’t tell myself that I can’t eat anything, but everything is within moderation. A couple days before competition I won’t be splurging. Fruits and vegetables are my favourite things, and if I could just live off them that would be great. I have tried the gluten-free diet thing and it didn’t work out for me so great. I might consider it again in the fall, but I don’t want to change anything right now right before the Olympics. I try to eat healthy, look for the better options on menus, but I don’t restrict myself from anything.

CL: What’s the first thing you do after a competition?
SW: Jump in an ice tub. It’s painful, but it’s necessary. It helps recovery so much and it feels pretty good after. When you first step out it feels like your legs are rejuvenated.

CL: What other Olympic competitions will you be watching?
SW: I’m looking forward to watching diving. I think it’s an amazing sport. It’s an individual sport like our sports, so I have that in common with them. I’m a big fan of Alexandre Despatie, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing how he does after coming back from his injury.

CL: What advice would you give young girls who want to get into track and field sports?
SW: I would definitely suggest to stick with it. Track and field is a very challenging sport, not just physically but also mentally. You are out there alone and there are a lot of injuries in track and field. I’ve dealt with so many of them, and it’s really hard to push through the injuries and do rehab for so long before getting back into it. But I think it’s one of the most rewarding sports, if they stick with it it can be a vehicle to so many other roads in their life.

Thanks for the chat, Sarah. And best of luck at the Olympic Games. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahWells400mh.

Tell me: Which Canadian athletes will you have your eye on during the Summer Games?