Baadsvik makes push for Sochi

Mt. A rugby alum on track for Olympic success.

As the Canadian women’s bobsled teams make their final preparations for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, their expectations are clearly focused on a repeat of the Gold medal won in Vancouver. If brakeman Emily Baadsvik has her way, that gold medal will be complimented by a shade of garnet.

Baadsvik, who was born in St. Stephen, NB, played hockey and rugby during her university career at Mount Allison. “They helped make Mt. A a much more enjoyable place outside of studying,” she mentioned over the phone. While she played both sports, Baadsvik had a significant attachment to her time on the pitch. She spent her time outside of Mt. A playing for the Fredericton Loyalists, St. John Trojans, and Moncton Blacktide of New Brunswick’s Senior Women’s League.

After she graduated, Baadsvik moved out to Calgary with hopes of making Canada’s national women’s rugby team. Baadsvik made the transition from rugby to bobsleigh, following in the footsteps of another successful Maritime rugby athlete, Heather Moyse. Moyse won Gold in 2010 as the brakeman for Kaillie Humphries.

The position of brakeman has featured a revolving door ever since Moyse went down with a serious ankle injury at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in her right hip. “Knowing that Heather [Moyse] had done it as well, I had extra ammunition to try it because I had nothing to lose,” she said.

Since Vancouver, Baadsvik has battled for the position of brakeman on Canada One with Chelsea Valois. Although Valois spent the majority of this year with Humphries, Baadsvik has split time between Canada’s top two teams. Jennifer Ciochetti, who finished fourteenth in the World Cup standings this year, pilots Canada’s second team.

Humphries, who has competed since 2002, was quick to comment about Baadsvik’s evolution as a bobsleigh athlete in a recent interview. “It’s always great when you can see someone put in the work and then see the results later.”

Baadsvik has worked her way into a strategic role on Canada’s bobsled team throughout the past few years. Serving as a spare to Canada One, Emily earned a bronze medal at a World Cup team event in Austria earlier this year and picked up two victories in the 2011-12 World Cup season.

Her almost immediate success in bobsleigh is nothing new to Jaco Olivier, her former rugby coach at Mt. A. “She has the ability, as an athlete to execute what you showed her the first time,” he commented. “I have never seen anything like it before in my life.”

Describing the sport as, “a rush that you can’t explain”, Baadsvik will continue to push for Sochi as she trains over the summer. The transition into any sport can be an arduous task, one that she is still learning. Humphries is confident about Baadsvik’s development though, and her chances for Sochi.  “As long as she continues to progress as she has in the sport over the last two years she should have no problem making it.”

Baadsvik has her sights firmly set on Sochi and standing on the top of the podium. Like any good brakeman, she wants to give other athletes a good start after her career finishes. She expressed a desire to assist world-class Canadian athletes, most of whom struggle financially, through working with various organizations such at the Canadian Olympic Committee or Own the Podium.

“The sky’s the limits and you only put limits on yourself.”

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