Personal best provides Amber Bowman with memorable victory

Having already won four consecutive national championships in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, Amber Bowman is one of the competition’s shining stars. One of the most underrated stars in sports, Bowman is a highly deserving sporting icon worthy of a bigger audience.

Extending her remarkable legacy beyond national championships, Bowman has enjoyed multiple world championships, establishing herself as more than a legend, but a hero and role model as well. A competition in which fire fighters battle the clock in a series of simulated emergency situations, the demanding event is testament to the hard work and sacrifice required to take part in such an occupation.

Taking into account that fire fighting has traditionally been a male-dominated occupation, remarkable women such as Bowman are helping to break barriers. For young women in the communities of Aurora and Newmarket, where Bowman proudly serves, she may inspire them to take on such a career.

Bowman’s first foray into sport involved a memorable run as an ice hockey player with the Ohio State Buckeyes, where she also served as captain. In addition, Bowman also spent several seasons in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and won an OWHA Senior title with the Aurora Panthers. As a side note, former Burlington Barracudas teammate Amanda Shaw is another female hockey hero that has entered firefighting as a post-playing career.

Image obtained from:

Image obtained from:

Despite accomplishing so much, one goal had eluded Bowman. Entering the 2015 edition of the FireFit National Championships in Kitchener, Ontario, this would prove to be a key motivational factor for the member of Central York Firefighting Services. In the four years prior, Bowman had never broken the two minute barrier. During the 2014 season, she had mentioned it on social media as a target she was aiming for.

Although it was five years in the making, Bowman set a personal best and a new event (and world) record as the first female to
break the elusive two-minute barrier in the Firefighter Combat Challenge. The fans on-hand in Kitchener were witnessing history, observing the presence of a legend, whose record time will inspire future generations of female competitors to reach Bowman’s hallowed benchmark.

Setting the new gold standard with a time of 1:58, it stands as one of the finest sporting achievements of 2015. The element that made Bowman’s performance so much more heroic was the fact that she suffered from a concussion in May. Medically cleared in early August, her Amazonian-like commitment to training paid remarkable dividends. Finishing in second was Swift Current’s Karla Cairns, while North Vancouver’s Carla King Penman finished third. Of note, Bowman and Penman hold the world record for in the women’s tandem, set in 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Suddenly, five years of hard work, the culmination of sweat, tears and the remarkable endurance through pain vanished, as all that remained was glory and jubilation. Assembling one of the great female sporting dynasties in modern Canadian history, Bowman proudly proclaimed on social media, “Dream It, Believe It, ACHIEVED IT!”


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