Kelsie Hendry has high aspirations for herself - over four and a half metres high!
This energetic athlete from Saskatoon represented Canada in the pole vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2009 World Championships, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. And she's not done yet! Currently vaulting 4.55 metres – not far off the long-standing world record of 4.91m, Hendry intends to wear the red and white again at the Worlds in South Korea later this year, and the 2012 London Olympics.
As a child Hendry vowed she would compete in the Olympics some day – she just didn't know at what! Although a national level competitor in gymnastics, "it was disappointing to come to the realization that I just wasn’t built for gymnastics," says Hendry. A friend enticed her to try the pole vault.
Now, after a decade of national and international competition, Hendry acknowledges the Olympics are different: "You compete against many of the same athletes as other world events but there is more pressure because the games are only every four years. The events are in a large stadium with a sold out audience. The noise is deafening. You can't help but be in awe." While she concedes there is some sense of relief to have achieved her Olympic dream, it has galvanized her resolve to achieve a personal best at a future Games. "It's a motivating experience," says Hendry, "and you know what has to be done to get to the next Olympics – hard work and lots of it".
That kind of hard work takes the form of daily training: generally two training sessions a day at least three days a week, with a single lighter session on the days in between. She'll take a day of rest here and there, and also manages to squeeze in some work as a substitute teacher. A resident of Saskatoon, she trains in Phoenix half the year.
After reading some new research information, Hendry's mother advised her she should be eating lentils while training for the 2008 Olympics. She came upon Genki Bar and now uses it regularly as part of her training regime. "Good nutrition in training is so important, especially for recovery. I like Genki because it's quick to eat and tastes good. I can have it before and after training," states Hendry. "It is difficult to find both lentils and minerals in a bar" she continues, "and I especially like that it's a local Canadian product."
Hendry is also an RBC Athlete Ambassador and enjoys time spent with young athletes. She advises them to think big and not hold back: “Don’t be afraid to dream. Try something outside your comfort zone – you never know where it might lead you. To be truly great you need passion so it's most important to be happy in your training and whatever you pursue."
Qualifying trials for the Worlds will be held in Calgary in June. Hendry will be there. Genki Bar will be with her. We'll be watching and cheering her on!