“When you are on the top of the podium, seeing the Maple Leaf raised and singing ‘O Canada,’ there is a feeling of pride and joy that your chest can hardly contain, and although I feel like I might cry, I am too happy for tears."
Ina Forrest has been watching and cheering on Team Canada from her couch at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
It was then that reality struck her - soon she will be on the other side of the television screen.
“It gives you a glimpse into the [Athlete] Village and the venues and competition stories, and I realise in a short couple of weeks we will be there and that will be us in competition. So if anything it makes it more real,” Forrest said. “Also more family and friends are now talking about the Games and more well wishes are coming in so it is never far from my mind.”
Forrest will be on a plane soon to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, where Canada will go for perfection in wheelchair curling.
She will be joined by team skip Mark Ideson, second Dennis Thiessen and lead Marie Wright.
Canada has won every Paralympic gold on offer since the sport debuted at Torino 2006.
Forrest was on the last two Paralympic-winning teams at Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010, and she will be back as vice-skip.
“When you are on the top of the podium, seeing the Maple Leaf raised and singing ‘O Canada,’ there is a feeling of pride and joy that your chest can hardly contain, and although I feel like I might cry, I am too happy for tears,” Forrest recalled.
But the 2014 Paralympics was the last major competition Team Canada has stood on a podium. They won the 2013 world title and finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships, which also acted as the Test Event for PyeongChang 2018.
Nonetheless, Forrest said the ultimate goal is still gold.
“As a team, we know our fellow competitors are working hard to improve their game competencies and we need to be matching that effort to be a top contender in the world,” she said.
Canada will open round-robin play against reigning world champion Norway on 10 March at the Gangneung Curling Centre.
As for the key to success, Forrest said: “Playing every rock to the best of our ability and being the team that plays the game right down to the last rock.”
That is what the team has been working on at a recent training camp, which was also the last before flying to South Korea.
They will also play against the US wheelchair curling team beforehand. As for now, the team is in their tapering phase.
“I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to Paralympic sport and have the opportunity to participate in three Games. The greatest legacy of the Games is to spread the awareness so more disabled people seek to participate in sport and reach that pinnacle,” Forrest said.
The Paralympic Winter Games take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from 9-18 March. Tickets can be purchased here.