I looked at the start list for the 2020 Winterlift which was the last qualification event for the Pan American Championships. The Pan American Championships is the last chance to make the 2020 Canadian Olympic Team which will be competing in Japan this August. When I saw the two-time Olympian on the start list in Maya’s weight class, I took notice but didn’t think much of it until the day of the competition.

As I sat there in the warm-up room with Maya right beside me, waiting for the athletes to be introduced at the start of the competition, it hit me like a ton of bricks! The realization that if Maya lost, that if this former Olympian beat her, my daughter’s dreams of the Olympics would be over prematurely. This was quite possible as this competitor is no pushover. She is a seasoned athlete who has been through many battles on the platform and has triumphed, hence her status.

Shit just got real!

I looked at Maya and said, “Maya, if you lose, your Olympic dream for Tokyo 2020 is over.” She looked at me and said just one word, “Okay”. That was it. Nothing else. Not a word. No questions, no discussions about strategy, nothing.

It was simple. In her mind whatever I put on that bar, she must lift. Period.

Maya was locked and loaded! It was like she was in a trance. She was focused, her eyes like ice, expressionless and emotionless.

The Beast has been unleashed.

Just work. In warm-ups, Maya touched that training bar 28 times and did not miss ONE lift! On the platform, she went 6 for 6 (102kg snatch, 129kg clean and jerk), broke 4 records, made 3 personal bests… and beat the former Olympian while also winning overall Best Female Lifter.

I have never seen Maya more determined.

All of the work, all of the times she didn’t want to get out of bed and train, all of the tears, all of the roadblocks and obstacles she faced prepared her for this moment.

Preparation meets opportunity. Next stop, Cuba for an Olympic qualifier. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Let’s go!