Having danced in ballet for 11 years, it would seem unlikely to find Sarah Reid soaring at 100 km/h on a frozen surface in the skeleton competition. Considering she carries a card given to her by her father that states, Dare Greatly, her enthusiasm knows no boundaries.
While the film Cool Runnings, based on the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team, captivated her interest for winter sports, skeleton rather than bobsled would become her sport of choice. After a 2003 Bobsleigh Canada talent camp forced her to accept that her size and strength were not apropos for the sport, her grace as a ballerina quickly translated to skeleton, where body awareness is crucial.
After graduating from Calgary’s National Sport School in 2005, the confidence needed to participate in the Winter Games was stimulated due to Canada’s strong showing in the event at the 2006 Torino Winter Games. Of note, Melissa Hollingsworth would capture the bronze medal in the women’s event, providing her with a role model. Ironically, she will now have the opportunity to call Hollingsworth a teammate as the two have qualified for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Although Sochi represents her first appearance at the Games, she does not come without experience. In 2008, she was honored as World Junior Champion while a silver medal would follow in 2010. Despite not qualifying for the Vancouver Winter Games, she served as a forerunner, providing her with the ability to appreciate the meaning of competition on the world’s biggest stage.
Racing on the World Cup circuit for 2012-13, her season finished with a bronze medal. Of note, her success was attributed to employing a new approach. Like a baseball player that employs a change in their batting stance or a golfer that slightly adjusts their swing, Reid found a new sled. The change paid dividends as the ability to maneuver came with greater ease. It also increased her confidence as the first World Cup race of the season resulted in more than just a podium finish, but her first victory.
Heading into a new challenge at Sochi, the thought of Hollingsworth and Reid both earning a podium finish would result in a historic first for Canadian women in the skeleton event. During the nascent history of the event in the Winter Games, there have never been two women from Canada to earn a podium finish. Although this is not the case in the men’s competition, it would signify a unique passing of the torch. As Hollingsworth is in the twilight of her career, the opportunity to see Reid reach the same pinnacle would provide a glorious Canadian future for the sport.