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Annie Foreman-Mackey: National champion and strong Olympic team pursuit alternate

When an athlete with Annie Foreman-Mackey's palmarès can’t make the team, you know it’s stacked

by Kevin Mackinnon

Photo: Kevin Mackinnon
Annie Foreman-Mackey at a recent pre-Olympic event in Milton, Ont. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

So how deep is Canada when it comes to fielding a team pursuit squad in Rio? Check out the credentials of the alternate Annie Foreman-Mackey. Foreman-Mackay, who rides for the Cyclery-Opus team, won a bronze medal at the world championships in the individual pursuit in February. In June, she rode away from the rest of the women’s field at the national rode championships in Ottawa.

When a world champion bronze medallist and national road champ can’t make the team, you know it’s stacked.

“Obviously, when you’re so close, it’s disappointing, but we’ve known for a few months now. I feel like I’ve fully embraced being the best alternate I possibly can,” says the ever-smiling and positive 25-year-old. “That means making sure everyone is ready to go on the team, that everyone is on the start line ready to go this August. I do feel I have a role in getting them there. I’m at all the training camps and I’m doing all the lead ins and I’m filling in at the line when I’m needed. It’s a huge opportunity for me, so it’s been really exciting.”

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The Kingston native did her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the health sciences program. She is now doing a masters in public health at the University of Toronto. Her impressive rise through the cycling ranks, while maintaining her studies, has even surprised her. “It’s been quite an adventure. Even a year ago if you’d have told me this is where I’d be, I’d be pretty surprised,” she says.

There has been an upside to the alternate spot—a chance to compete at nationals and put all the hard track training to good use. “Because I’m an alternate, I’ve had a bit more flexibility—the other girls haven’t been racing. I got to go to road nationals—which I won—that was pretty exciting. I think that’s a testament to all the work and training we’re doing on the track and it can transfer over to the road. It’s been a great couple of months. I’ve never been to a major games, so it’ll be quite an experience.”

Whether or not we’ll see Foreman-Mackey compete in Japan in four years remains to be seen, but she is determined to continue her both her athletic and academic careers. She’s moved to Hamilton and will commute to Toronto three days a week so she can keep up both pursuits.

Malgorzata Wojtyra Rebecca Wiasak Annie Foreman-Mackey
Canada’s Annie Foreman-Mackey (right) took bronze in the women’s individual pursuit at the 2016 track cycling world championships in London with a time of 3:36.055. Rebecca Wiasak of Australia rode the event in 3:34.099 for gold. Poland’s Malgorzata Wojtyra came in second with 3:41.904. Photo credit: Kevin Mackinnon