Athlete Factory Monthly Newsletter - May 2016
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Gerrit van Bruggen

Name: Gerrit van Bruggen
Age: 33
Sport: Boardercross
Level: 2nd at Canadian Nationals, 2018 Paralympic hopeful 

1. Give us a brief overview of your development as a snowboarder. 

In 1994, on a family ski trip to Utah I saw somebody snowboarding for the first time ever.  It blew my mind: in 1994 you never saw snowboarders on the mountain.  That following summer, I had the farm accident and had my leg amputated.  The following winter, my family returned to Utah. I convinced my parents that because I didn't have my leg anymore it would be a good idea to let me snowboard. I knew that because I didn't have both my legs I could manipulate them in this situation.  During that trip, we borrowed a snowboard from someone and I tried it for the first time.

For the next 8 years, snowboarding was pretty much my life: culminating in me living in Whistler for a winter, riding a lot of back country and park.  I moved to California for a bit and then returned back and could only snowboard a couple times a year.  In 2014, my wife saw some footage of boardercross at the Sochi Paralympic games.  It was the first year that boardercross was an event in the paralympics and she told me "You gotta do this.  I know you can do this."

Keep in mind, I had been out of snowboarding for so long, had never ever competed, and was almost anti-competition for most of my snowboarding years. Eventually over the next two years, she convinced me to try it.  
I got in touch with Michelle Salt (paralympic snowboarder) last fall, went snowboarding with her, and got invited to a training camp this winter.  This is essentially my first year in boardercross competition.

2.  How did your season finish up this year?

Really well: I did my first World Cup event and placed 8. After that, I did Canadian Nationals and got 2nd, beating the two-time national champion in the semi-finals, in a head-to head race.  The season ended really well.
3.  What is your most memorable moment as a snowboarder?

My memorable moment was in 2001 when I was living in Whistler, riding park.  This was the first time I discovered flow: where your body takes over and you effortlessly can do things you don't think are possible.  I did this accidentally, going over a 70-foot table top and somehow turned almost dying into a new trick for me.
4.  What's your goal for competitions as you move forward?

Pyeongchang 2018 Gold Medal.  I'm on the zero to gold medal in 28 months program.
5.  You have 4 kids and own a business.  What keeps you going?

Family support is huge.  My wife has been instrumental in encouraging me and pushing me to compete.  Without that, it wouldn't have been possible at all.  This, for me, is all about priorities and where you put your time and energy.  Yes, I run a business, have a family and I'm a competitive snowboarder, but that's what I love doing.  We spend too much time in our lives doing things we don't need to do. If we whittle that extra stuff away, we can get down to where you can do a lot in the time you have.  I don't sit around playing video games or watching TV; my life is work, family, and training. These are the things that are important to me and the things that I want to do.   I don't do the things I'm "supposed to want to do." 
6. How has training at the Athlete Factory affected your performance on the snow? 

This off-snow training has been everything for me this season.  I think that my training at the Athlete Factory has been more important than my training on the snow this year. As a 33 year who's been mostly sitting at a desk for the last 10 years, I was - and still am - pretty out of shape.  Six months of being at the Athlete Factory has completely transformed how I feel and how strong I feel.  I feel a lot more stable.

One example, between my first World Cup race in February and Nationals in March, I only went snowboarding one time.  I was at the gym five days a week.  I went from being three to four seconds behind the top Canadian National guys in a one minute race to beating them in a one minute race.  This was just because I was in better shape and more able to handle the course
7. What advice would you give to young paralympic athletes?

I definitely took an unconventional path because of how late I was into snowboarding.  The biggest thing I would say: find the joy and the love in the sport before you worry about the competition in the sport.  If it becomes only about competition, you'll lose the drive for long-term competition.  I think you always need to find the true love in the sport. If you love the sport, then you're going to do it and you're going to do it well.  That's what brought me around.  Snowboarding was always about me and the mountain and I didn't want to be timed and compared to others.

What has brought me back to competition is that I realize there is a value to pushing yourself and being able to see the progress in pushing yourself: especially in comparison to the rest of the field.

Performance Assessments

- Friday May 6 at 5:30pm
- Saturday May 14 at 2:00pm
- Monday May 23 at 8:00pm


For the months of April and May we are offering 15% off of all Klean Athlete™ products including Klean Isolate Protein and Klean Recovery Carbohydrate Powder. Please see your Athlete Factory Coach, Therapist or administrative staff for more information.

Athlete Factory Sports Therapy Clinic is Complete Concussion Management certified.  We are one of two facilities in Calgary holding this certification.  Learn more here.  Contact our Clinic for more information: 403-255-7703

Athlete News

UofC Dino's Hockey players Iya Gavrilova and Sasha Alexandra Vafina took home a bronze for Team Russia in the Women's World Championship. 

Tyrone Williams has been chosen to be part of the University 7's All-Star rugby team competing at the end of May.  He was one of twelve throughout Canada selected for the roster.

Brad Burgess won gold at the USASA Open Men Banked Slalom.

Olympic skier Jan Hudec is back in the gym preparing for the next World Cup season.

Noah Ali defeated Sean Quinn in the main event at Hard Knocks 49 by unanimous decision. 

Geneva Roach was selected as 2015 Alberta Junior Female Athlete of the Year.  

U18 403 Selects Volleyball team placed third at Provincials.

Irish Dancer Tegan Jost on placed first in her prelims at the Matterin Feis.  This put her into the open champion category for future competitions.

Sarah Calkin, of 403 Selects Volleyball, signed to play volleyball at Memorial University.

Oliver Jackson placed 2nd at a national BMX race in South Carolina.

Crossings Youth Dance Company performed in Times Square.  Click here to watch one of three very well-received routines the group performed.

Sports Therapy Clinic - New Athletic Therapist
Meet Sarah Barber, MKin, CAT(C)

Sarah Barber has always had a passion for physical fitness and sports. As a proud Winnipegger Sarah completed the Bachelor of Kinesiology program at the University of Manitoba before becoming a Certified Athletic Therapist in November of 2013. She first came to Calgary to pursue a Masters degree at the University of Calgary, which was completed in the spring of 2016.

Sarah enjoys working with a wide range of sports in competition and training settings. Sarah specializes in functional assessment and rehabilitative exercises made specific for each sport and uses manual therapies to complement this process. When not working with athletes Sarah enjoys cycling, swimming, and hiking.

Her current availability is:  Sunday 12-5pm, Wednesday 3-9pm, Friday 3-9pm, Saturday 12-5pm

Call our Clinic to book your appointment: 403-255-7703

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