July 27, 2010
OLYMPIAN ADRIENNE Power of East Jeddore determined last year her mind was slowing her down.
Canada’s top women’s 200-metre sprinter did everything necessary to make to it the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the world championships last year in Berlin, but left both meets disappointed with her results.
She was a quarter-finalist in Beijing in 23:51. She ran a 23:38 in Berlin and failed to advance out of her heat.
The results left the 28-year-old Dalhousie grad at a crossroads. She had the talent to run a 22.86, which she accomplished in Utah in 2008, but every time she got to the big stage she would underperform.
She made a formative decision in December to relocate her training to Arlington, Texas, with coach Monte Stratton. Stratton focuses on allowing athletes to relax under extreme stress and execute to the best of their abilities.
“My biggest problem in past years isn’t physical, it’s totally from the shoulders up,” Power said Monday at a media event for the Aileen Meagher International Track Classic on Aug. 3 at Saint Mary’s, where she will run the 100 and 200.
“I have a tendency to try really hard and trying really hard in track and field doesn’t necessarily mean fast. So mentally right now I’m in a great position for 2012.”
She trains in the U.S. in a group of six athletes including 200-metre specialist Jared Connaughton of P.E.I. Another member is American sprinter LaShante Moore, ranked No. 3 in the world in the 100 metres.
Power has been quick this season with a 23:11 in Calgary.
She’s already met the Commonwealth Games standard and needs to be in the top three at this weekend’s Canadian championships in Toronto for a spot on the Commonwealth team for India in October. She is ranked No. 1 for the nationals.
“The Commonwealth Games is going to be a good trial run for me to practise this new relaxation under intense competition,” she said. “I failed to do that at world championships and the Olympics, but hopefully this year relaxing at a big championship will help me get a breakthrough.”
She said she will never regret all the support and coaching she received coming up in Nova Scotia, but reached a point where she had to take her training to another level if she wanted to move from the top 20s in the world toward the top 10.
At home she focused on Canadian championships and would do fine. However, she needed her attention to be at the elite level in the world.
“I go to national championships and I always perform well there. I’m relaxed and confident. But as soon as we get on a plane and go to world championships in Berlin or go to the Olympic Games in Beijing I step on the track and I decide this is the Olympics and I have to try harder now.
“It’s because I’m not exposed to having that intense environment all the time whereas in Texas I’m getting that intense environment.”
The world championships (South Korea) and the Pan-Am Games (Mexico) are next year and then the stretch drive into the London Games. Power will be 30 in 2012, considered the peak age for a female sprinter.
“Semifinals for sure,” she said of her goal for London. “The dream is to be a finalist. Once you’re in the final anything can happen in those things. If I can mentally get this thing together I know the talent is there.”
She’s been a headliner at the Aileen Meagher in recent years and has a soft spot for the event.
“It’s a chance for me to come out and show the people that have inspired me to become an Olympian … that I definitely appreciate their support and I’m going to run my best in front of them.”
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