By Armand Whyte, OSL
Kimiko Zakreski was born on New Year's Eve in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada.
She was a star of the MTV Canada series 'Summer Sessions'.
Zakreski is featured in the MTV show 'Over the Bolts' which followed the Canadian national team over a season.
She had a disappointing 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finishing 29th in the parallel giant slalom.
We profile snowboarder and MTV reality star Kimiko Zakreski, who wasone of Canada's many hopes for a medal when they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
In the women's parallel giant slalom event at Vancouver, Zakreski did not advance to compete for a medal. She finished in 29th place.
Kimi, what is your first memory of snowboarding?
My first memory of snowboarding is being in the park by my house and some of the kids in the neighbourhood had a board with a leash attached to the nose of the board which you held on to and we road them down the tiny hill in the park. I remembering it being really hard and looking up to the older kids that could do it. My second memory is learning how to really snowboard at COP in regular Sorel boots that had absolutely no ankle support whatsoever ... that was painful.
Why is snowboarding such fun?
Snowboarding is so much fun to me because it is such a free and exhilarating feeling. Being able to ride and move down a mountain at high speeds powered purely by your own inertia, power and balance is empowering. It doesn't get much better then being able to go to work everyday in the Mountains and close to nature.
Kimiko Zakreski, snowboard
Kimiko Zakreski, snowboard
What is the most memorable moment of your career?
Getting on the podium for the first time at the Limone, Italy World Cup last year. It was snowing so hard outside that the whole day felt like a dream. I won Silver, Matt Morrison won gold and Jasey-Jay Anderson won bronze so it was an amazing day for the whole team. Just seeing how proud our coaches were made the whole experience that much cooler.
What's your snowboarding style?
Aggressive and athletic
Tell us about your training and fitness routine during the season.
We normally have three or four days of training on the race hill before we compete, then we move on to the next venue. Taking care of our bodies, finding gyms and getting the proper nutrition in different countries is not always easy and is always a full time job. We have coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, equipment techs and a videographer with us most of the season to help.
Training on snow takes up most of our day. We normally also do some kind of workout or spin on the bike. Physiotherapy is always a part of everyone's day to make sure our bodies are happy. In the evening, we do video analysis of our training.
And what does your off-season training look like?
I spend most of my time working on my physical fitness and strength. I can't start a day without a big bowl of my favorite cereal with almonds and whatever berries are in season. If I have more time, I cook myself some eggs. I love eggs. It might sound funny, but food is a big focus throughout my day.
After I get some good fuel in my body, I head to the gym about 10 a.m. I go five days a week, sometimes twice a day. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I lift weights in the morning and do a second cardio workout either right after or in the afternoons.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do a conditioning workout and recovery routine. On Saturday or Sunday I try to ride a bike or do something active and fun. I meet my trainer two to three times a week to make sure I am getting the most out of my workouts. I also do yoga at least once a week.
People think the off-season is time to relax, but as an elite athlete, I am always training to get better, and the summers are the most important time for improving and getting faster.
What's the secret to your success as an elite snowboarder>
The biggest thing that has allowed me to achieve my goals has been perseverance, determination and dedication. It isn't always about just having talent or natural athletic ability. I came from a somewhat non-athletic family.
There are recipes for success in almost anything you do and if someone gives you the tools to achieve something and you do that with full determination and dedication then you will achieve your goal.
No matter what your goal or what you are trying to achieve, you need a plan on how to get there. If you have experts telling you how to get there, you can take that information and use it to the fullest. If all the pieces of the puzzle are taken care of, it should come together.
How did you respond when you heard Vancouver had been awarded the 2010 Olympic Games?
When I found out Vancouver got it, I was like,
Holy s***! It's going to be in our country.
You know, when you get out of high school, there's always that question as to what you want to do with your life and everyone's going to university and getting degrees. It's hard as an amateur athlete because you don't have a lot of support in Canada and when you're paying out of your own pocket to do something, its kind of like,
Why in the hell would I keep doing this when I could go to school and start making money? So I was kind of at that point of deciding whether or not to keep going with it. When they did say Vancouver, I was like,
Wow! This is an amazing opportunity for any athlete in Canada and I would be an idiot to give up now and miss the chance of going to the Olympics in my own country.
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