Orléans resident Karelle Edwards , an Olympic-hopeful in hurdling, has been chosen as Ottawa’s Pan American Games torchbearer.
The city was given the opportunity to choose one torchbearer, and put out a call for nominations in January.
Edwards said her father’s friend nominated her to cover the downtown route.
“For Canada to have the Pan Am Games is already huge,” said Edwards, 25. “So to be part of the kick-off is an absolute honour.”
Edwards will run the portion of the relay through central Ottawa, while the Pan Am Games committee is still to announce torchbearers for the Kanata, Barrhaven and Orléans legs of the relay.
The hurdler could potentially make the Games herself, as she has already run the cut-off standard time in her event, the 100-metre hurdles. Only the top two female Canadian runners in the event will be selected to compete.
Last time she checked, Edwards was ranked third, but said she tries not to pay attention to the rankings too much.
“The goal is just to keep running – and run fast,” she said.
Canadian athletes have until June 14 to post their best times with Athletics Canada before the team is selected. Her ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics – an event that takes the top three Canadians based on upcoming Olympic trials performance.
Edwards competed in the last Olympic trials, and made the finals. It was her first competitive season after a three-year break due to a back injury.
After switching from gymnastics to track and field as a De La Salle high school student, she represented Canada at the 2007 World Youth Championships in Athletics, and the next year competed at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
She returned from her hiatus due to injury and now trains with the Ottawa Lions and coach Craig Taylor, working towards the goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The University of Ottawa graduate has put her future plans of becoming a chiropractor on hold as she focuses full-time on her track career.
She said the excitement around the Pan American Games being in her home country will be motivation to work towards her goals.
“Just being at home, there’ll be so much hype,” she said. “I’m really excited and looking forward to it, and I’m hoping I do make the team and I’m able to represent Canada.”