Sprinter Michelle Young goes on to train at eastern track hub
Former Huskie sprinter Michelle Young has been an avid runner since her elementary school days.
“I really enjoyed running up and down the hallways and racing my friends,” said Young. “I discovered the sport by joining my elementary school’s relay team.”
Young competed with the University of Saskatchewan track and field team for four years. During her time spent with the Huskies, she also participated in the Canada Summer Games, the Canada West Championship and the CIS Championships and won gold in both the 100-metre and 60-metre hurdles.
“Winning the 100-metre hurdles at the Summer Games was a major milestone in my athletic career because it was my first success coming back from an injury that took me out of track for a few years,” said Young. “The feeling of accomplishing a goal you worked hard for all year is unforgettable.”
After a successful stint with the Huskies, Young will soon be going on to train at The High Performance Track and Field hub in Toronto.
Canada is home to two of these national training centres: a western hub in Victoria and an eastern hub in Toronto. Both centres offer athletes access to world-class training and medical facilities. The eastern hub specializes in sprints, hurdles and relays while the western hub focuses more on using nutrition, strength training and physiotherapy to optimize performance.
Despite leaving for Toronto soon, Young said that her time spent competing with the Huskie team has been a valuable learning experience that will continue to shape her identity as an athlete. Though track and field is ultimately an individual sport, Young’s relationship with her teammates and coaches at the U of S acted as a steadfast support system for her while competing as a Huskie.
Though it will be difficult to say goodbye to her family, friends and fellow athletes, Young is anxious to kick off her new life in Ontario.
“I’m excited about my upcoming move to Toronto and the new opportunities that will come from this change,” said Young. “I started working with the coaches from Toronto last spring. When the opportunity to join the group arose a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be the best decision moving forward with my track career.”
After being sidelined due to a back injury preventing her from competing with the Huskies, Young said she felt that she was ready for a change.
“I don’t want to look back and regret chances and opportunities I didn’t take, so I believe this is the right move,” said Young.
Despite this injury, Young remains optimistic about her future in track.
“My ultimate goal is to put 100 per cent effort into my sport and see where it takes me,” said Young. “Ideally I would like to make the Olympics and compete on the Diamond League circuit.”
Rather than relying on pre-performance rituals, Young says the best way to maintain her competitive edge before running is simply to relax and enjoy herself.
“I don’t want to become reliant on something that could possibly not be there one day,” she said. “Having fun is the best indicator that I will have a good race. When I get too serious or stressed out, I don’t tend to have the best races.”
When faced with adversity in her athletic career such as injuries or discouragement, Young looks to other track athletes for inspiration. Canadian sprinter Perdita Felicien, former world champion in hurdles, is one of her main sources of motivation.
Felicien “was one of the best hurdlers in Canadian history and I will always remember watching her race on TV growing up,” said Young. “She has had many up and downs throughout her career and is a good person to look up to as a reminder to stay strong during the hard times in sport.”
Relocating to Toronto to train with the eastern track hub will be a huge change for the Saskatoon native, but it’s a change that she believes is for the best as she will be able to indulge daily in the sport that she’s so passionate about.
“In a sport where one hundredth of a second can make all the difference, you never know what to expect,” said Young.