With Olympics in mind, Saskatoon track and field athlete shifts gears to cycling

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With Olympics in mind, Saskatoon track and field athlete shifts gears to cycling
WATCH: Sophie Gelineau is chasing her Olympic dream, albeit in a sport she's never done before – Apr 22, 2021

Sophie Gelineau’s house has always bred competition.

“My sister’s and I have always been competitive since we were younger,” Gelineau smirked. “Racing each other in our backyards and everything like that.”

That sort of competitive fire is required for any high level athlete, which Gelineau is.

For the last five years she’s competed with the University of Alberta’s track and field team where she’s been a mainstay in the pentathlon, while also capturing a USPORTS bronze medal in the 4×800 meter relay.

However, her as varsity track career comes to an end, she’s started to set her eyes on a sport that she’s never competed in thanks to the RBC Training Ground Program — track cycling.

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“My younger sister decided to sign me up and thought it would be a good opportunity for me,” she explained.

The program, which is currently being run remotely due to the pandemic, tests athletes’ endurance, speed and strength.

From there, coaches from multiple sports view the tests and invite athletes to come and train in their given discipline to see if there’s a fit between them.

“I did a beep test, and so that’s just testing the endurance running, I did a 20-meter sprint, just to get that high, top-end speed, and then a standing vertical jump,” Gelineau said.

Her test results impressed Cycling Canada’s NEXTGen Coach, who extended Gelineau an invitation to come to the Velodrome in Milton, Ontario to tryout the sport.

Coach Jenny Trew has high hopes for the Saskatoon native, considering Cycling Canada’s track record with the RBC Training Ground Program.

“Where we’ve had the most success of cross over to date has been in our sprint program,” Trew explained. “In fact all four of our athletes that are in our elite sprint program, for the women, came from RBC training ground, which is a pretty neat statistic.”

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Those four athletes come from a wide array of sports, including soccer, figure skating, volleyball and track and field.

The news has added an extra element to Gelineau’s training regiment, when she finds the time away from her regular training.

“On my off days, or my cross-training days I’ll go for a bike ride or go on a stationary bike, I just enjoy cycling,” she said.

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