Campus Life  

Gold-medal cyclist shares stories of tragedies and triumph

Meghan Grant inspires audience at UBCO Athletic Scholarship Breakfast

Anybody who has ever endured a miss-step or a bit of bad luck could have taken away a message of encouragement from Canadian cyclist Meghan Grant Friday morning.

Grant was the guest speaker at the 14th annual UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast. She shared her journey of being ‘the kid last picked for sports teams’ to becoming a gold medal winning athlete for Canada. It was a sell-out audience and the room listened to stories of injuries, crashes, the loss of a coach through suicide, the near-death and lengthy recovery of her partner, and a broken ankle the day before her time trial at the Pan Am Championships.

Through it all, Grant—an emergency room physician who started riding a bike while in residency—never surrendered to self-doubt. While she had a goal of getting to the Olympics as a medical doctor, she secretly always wanted to compete for Canada. And it was a Canadian team jersey, borrowed for a photoshoot, that gave her that extra inspiration to make the national team.

“When I made the Canadian team, it was terrible,” she told the jam-packed crowd. “I mean I Ioved it, but I was way out of my element. And I knew that not only did I have to work as hard as everyone else on the team, but I had to work the hardest on the team.”

Not only a top-level athlete, Grant also made it to the semi-finals during Canada’s recent call for astronauts. While light-hearted, her message was about never giving up on a dream. And never accepting failure.

“It’s about learning to listen to that inner voice. I’m a dreamer, an explorer and I love space and the final frontier,” she said. “But I really believe the final frontier is inside of us and that’s where the most interesting exploration is. What is your ‘what if?’ What would be possible for you if you suspended your idea of what the limits might be and listened to that little ember inside of you that wants to burst into a flame?”

During the fundraising breakfast, UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard introduced the new corporate sponsor, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and announced a special contribution by RBC to support student-athletes.

“In addition to sponsoring the Athletics Scholarship Breakfast for the first time, RBC has donated $5,000 to support another five student-athletes in 2019/20,” Buszard explained. “We are so grateful for RBC’s leadership and generosity in supporting our Heat athletes.”

Another significant change is that the window to donate to boost the breakfast total remains open until midnight Monday, April 8. Director of Athletics Tom Huisman explained that any donations raised before that deadline will be matched by UBCO’s athletics department (up to $500 per individual donation and $10,000 total).

Huisman credited Grant and student speaker Jordan Korol—a cancer survivor and Heat basketball player—for their inspirational messages.

“Both of today’s speakers inspired us with their stories of perseverance and self-belief and the value of sport that was incredibly impactful. Both also spoke of the value of a community of support that helped them continue to pursue their dreams when life was suggesting maybe those dreams weren’t possible,” he said. “Today’s breakfast attendees and corporate supporters are part of our UBCO Heat community of support that provides much needed financial assistance through the provision of scholarships, and for that, we are incredibly grateful.”

After 14 years of fundraising breakfasts, UBCO and the community have raised more than $920,000 for the Athletics Scholarship Endowment.

To add to this fund and qualify for matching funding, please visit: www.support.ubc.ca/ubco-athletics

Host Pat Kennedy listens while Dr. Meghan Grant explains the up and down journey she endured on her way to becoming a gold medal cyclist for Canada.

Host Pat Kennedy listens while Dr. Meghan Grant explains the up and down journey she endured on her way to becoming a gold medal cyclist for Canada.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.

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