Edmonton hurdler Angela Whyte prepares for one last run at Worlds and Olympics 0
BY BRIAN SWANE, EDMONTON SUN
FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015
Angela Whyte turned 35 on Friday.
That's young by many standards.
Being an elite athlete is not one of them.
The decorated hurdler spent her birthday at Foote Field, helping promote the “TrackTown” trio of athletic meets that will be contested in her hometown of Edmonton this summer.
Whether speaking before an audience during a ceremony, encouraging high school athletes competing in the city championships, or coaching media through a mini-meet, Whyte was a natural. Watching her thrive as an ambassador for her sport, one might think think the Ross Sheppard grad has left her competitive days behind.
“I think there's some goals that I would like to achieve, or at least give myself the best chance to achieve,” Whyte said. “Nothing's ever promised, but I think as I've grown older and more wise, perhaps, just knowing that you're giving yourself the opportunity to reach your maximum potential, that's what keeps me into track and field at the high level.”
A two-time Olympian and veteran of six IAAF World Championships, Whyte would love to have a chance at medaling in the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Summer Games before calling it a career. Qualifying for either will be a challenge in its own right, particularly given Whyte is coming back from injury issues with her hamstring, hip flexor and back, which she only recently addressed properly after trying to gut it out for three years.
“In all honesty, I have never had a bigger question mark ever, and I've had some years where my training hasn't been consistent,” Whyte said. “But this one truly is very questionable as to where I am, and I am ready for anything. Be it good, be it bad, I'm ready for it.”
Normally Whyte begins outdoor competition in April after an extensive indoor season. Neither has been the case this year for Whyte, who plans on returning to action at the Speed River Inferno Track and Field Festival in Guelph on May 30.
“That is the litmus test to see where are we, what do we need to do, how are things feeling,” Whyte said. “Sometimes it's hard to tell in practice, especially when I practice by myself, so Guelph will be the test, and I'll just try to muddle through this year to see what I can do in preparation for next year.”
Whyte has already had a remarkably long career, outlasting nearly all her peers. She made her first Worlds appearance in 2001 at Commonwealth Stadium, and has gone to rack up three Commonwealth Games medals, two Pan-Am Games medals, a pair of top-eight showings at Worlds, and a sixth-place finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Along the way she has become a role model for not just young athletes, but young people in general. Her longevity is bolstered by incredible conditioning that has propelled her into the top three in the 100m hurdles at Nationals 12 times since 2001, and an exceptionally positive attitude that has shepherded her through injuries and heartbreak.
Whyte hopes her comeback trail will have successful stops at Foote Field, which hosts the Canadian Track and Field Championships - the qualifying meet for Worlds – at the beginning of July, as well as the TrackTown Classic invitational both this summer and 2016.
Eventually she'll cross the finish line, but it will be a long time before Whyte is displaced as the face of athletics in Edmonton.
“I've had a very long career and I'm hoping to end it on a high note next year, and I'm hoping that I can do that in Edmonton, in my home city, in front of my friends and family,” she said.
“I enjoy the ambassador role, because I love the sport, I truly do. That's what kept me in the sport so long.”
Over 400 athletes from 16 nations and 32 Olympians will compete for over $100,000 in prize money. Tickets are $10 general admission and $25 finish line and are available on line at www.harryjerome.com