Getting Inside the Mind of an Olympian, with Allison Forsyth
Longtime friend of Stoko and former Olympic alpine skier, Allison Forsyth, gives us insight into what it takes to pursue the podium.
As a former professional alpine skier and olympian, Allison Forsyth is no stranger to the magnetic pull of the Games, and the subsequent toll that the podium pursuit can take on your body.
We sat down with Allison to pick her brain on a myriad of topics, including: pre-event rituals, what Olympic athletes might be feeling leading up to the games, and how the K1s have changed everything for her—as someone who likes to move… a lot.
What's your Olympic resume (for lack of a better term)?
“I was born and raised in Nanaimo, B.C., which meant I learned to ski on Mt. Washington—something I’m really proud of. I started skiing when I was in diapers, my first race by age four and my last race at age 27—skiing was my life.
“After nine years, three Olympic Games, five surgeries and one career-ending injury (a broken femur, tibia and torn ACL), I decided it was time to retire.
“Since retirement, two life-changing things have happened to me: I found my passion working at Safe Sport, and I was introduced to Stoko. I love being a brand ambassador for Stoko—the company culture is inspiring and the tights have truly revolutionized my movement.”
When you were competing, did you feel like you were able to compete to your fullest potential? Did injuries ever hold you back?
“I spent the start of my career in the blissful state of invincibility—which quickly went away. When you’ve been conditioned for an extreme sport like alpine skiing all your life, it’s easy to forget the toll it takes on your body. When I fell in the 2006 Olympics, I did absolutely everything in my power to make a comeback—including five surgeries—but I couldn’t do it. Correction… my body couldn’t do it."
“This led to my first experience with a traditional knee brace. I was only able to wear it for half a day before getting fed up—I just knew it was preventing me from building and strengthening the muscles I needed to work on. Had the K1 existed in 2006, it would have changed my life.”
What does your relationship to movement look like now?
“I’m 43 years old and I’ve put my body through 20 years of conditioning and extreme exercise for one sport. I still find it hard to step out of that ‘extreme’, to acknowledge that my body is not that of a 25 year Olympian anymore. I’m in firm denial of my body breaking down, ha, so I desperately need my K1s. They’ve changed my relationship with running, in that I can now run 12 to 15 kilometers in the trails—which is my joy—pain free!”
Can you give any insight into what an Olympic athlete might be feeling or going through right now?
“I’ve often said there are three types of Olympians:
- The Champion: heads down, there to win.
- The “OMG I’m an Olympian”: soaking up every moment.
- The “maybe it could be me”: not a seasoned champ, but a medal is within reach.
“This is my (unproven) theory that all Olympic athletes are feeling the pressure from one of these roles right now. Me? I was number three.”
Is there any advice you would give to people out there chasing an Olympic dream?
“It may sound cheesy, but 16 years later it feels very true—enjoy the journey. Know that one day it will be over, so keep pushing and reaching. Oh, and try your best to enjoy yourself.”
For more sport-insights from Allison, make sure to follow her on social @allisonforsyth.