Following the strong legacy of other remarkable female athletes from Quebec, Caroline Calve is going to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games with dreams of gold. Should the early months of 2014 be similar to the remaining months of 2013, the odds are certainly in her favor.
Considering she has broken barriers twice in the parallel giant slalom event, another opportunity to make history in Sochi would provide her with an exceptional triple crown. Of note, she became the first Canadian woman to capture the gold in the parallel giant slalom World Cup event. This occurred at a Carezza, Italy competition in 2011.
This was followed by a fourth-place event in Slovenia in February 2013 where she became the first Canadian woman to actually lead the Snowboarding World Cup standings. She would finish the 2012-13 season ranked third overall. Ironically, Carezza, Italy would play a prominent role in her 2013.
The December event saw Calve edge Russian Ekaterina Tudegesheva by a mere 0.06 seconds for her third World Cup victory. Selina Joerg of Germany finished in third. As slope conditions resulted in a course that was 340 meters in length with 25 gates, the podium finish provides Calve with tremendous confidence.
Gaining national prominence, Calve is certainly one of Canada’s greatest chances for a gold medal. Only 22 when she began snowboarding, this former skier was named as one of 47 Canadian athletes that will be part of the RBC Olympians program from 2013 to 2015. Hailing from Quebec’s Ouatouais region, she first appeared in the Winter Games at Vancouver 2010 in the parallel giant slalom competition.
Rain and lack of snow at Vancouver resulted in most of her training runs being cancelled. The Sochi World Cup in February 2013 featured sunshine and weather of 15C. Employing summer training and positive visualization, her adjustments should lead to a more confident performance in 2014.
One of her most unique contributions to Canadian sporting culture involves being featured on the boxes of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. With General Mills as a proud sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team, she is one of three females that not only have their image gracing a Cheerios product (Roz Groenewoud is on Chocolate Cheerios while hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser covers Multi-Grain Cheerios) but a box of Nature Valley Granola Bars.
In addition, Calve may soon find her image mounted on the walls of an office cubicle or a locker. Also appearing in the 2014 Peak Moment CAN Fund Calendar, she is one of seven female athletes decked out in a black ensemble featuring a sports bra and shorts. Photographed by Howard Chang, every featured athlete has their chiseled frame and determined look immortalized in time.
Employing the superstition of wearing the same socks while racing, Calve is also a proud member of the First Nation’s Snowboard Team, this was founded by Aaron Marchant in 2004. Of Algonquin heritage, Calve is a strong role model for young Aboriginals, male and female, inspiring them to reach their potential in any facet of life that they choose. With the Snowboard Team using sport as a vehicle to promote a healthier lifestyle, the values of team-building and perseverance also propel a positive change.
Having grown up in admiration of Quebec swimmer and Summer Games medalist Sylvie Frechette, Calve has certainly followed in her proud legacy. Building up tremendous momentum after a strong finish to 2013, she is more than a sporting hero but a positive influence to those wishing to follow their dreams.