Gaiazova looking towards the 2014 Olympics 0
Daria Gaiazova gets in some training alongside Lake Minnewanka. The Banff resident will be spending most of her summer in Quebec as she trains for the upcoming cross country ski season. Photo by Johnevelyphoto.com.
Daria Gaiazova, a top cross-country ski racer and 2010 Olympian from Banff, will be moving much of her training to Montreal with B2ten over the summer as she prepares for Sochi 2014.
B2ten is a privately funded charitable organization in Canada which provides coaches, training and medal preparation to elite amateur athletes. The organization started around 2007 with Olympian Jennifer Heil and has since taken on numerous Canadian athletes, connecting private businesses with Olympic-level athletes.
Gaiazova is one of their newest members, invited this spring to train with their elite group of athletes at Montreal's Powerwatts Premier Studio.
"It is really hard to get invited because they only take the athletes who they think have a potential for a medal," said Gaiazova. "They take in athletes who they know have potential and provided them with the tools to achieve."
Gaiazova said the training is specific to her sprint cross-country skiing. She will work with top Canadian coaches and trainers who will help her focus on the skills needed to become a medal contender.
The five-year Banff local will train in sessions for about a month in Montreal, coming home for a couple weeks in between to catch her breath and round out her training in Banff and Canmore.
The ultimate goal, she said, is Sochi 2014.
"This is really the time when we make all the changes and we make all the gains as athletes, it is not two months before the games, it is really now that we put all the ground work down. I think it couldn't be better timing for me to be invited to go to Montreal."
Gaiazova has been on the Canadian National Ski Team for eight years, since she moved out to the Bow Valley from Montreal. Before that her family lived in Moscow, Russia.
Gaiazova said Banff has been a huge inspiration in her career as a cross-country skier.
"Everybody is really into sports and really supportive and having that small community and being really connected to it has been great emotionally," she said.
But it is not a one way street for Gaiazova who has been giving back to the community for a while with her involvement in the senior's walking program as well as organizing a Kids Sport fundraiser in Banff.
Businesses in Banff are also supportive of Gaiazova, notably Banff Airporter who has been helping her commute to the Calgary Airport. To give back, Gaiazova wrote a fun Banff hotspots guide which the Airporter buses will soon be giving out to tourists on the trip out to Banff.
Support was even more important for Gaiazova four years ago when her life as an athlete was shaken after she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
"I got diagnosed in '08," she said. "I would say it is becoming easier and easier for me just the more I know and as it becomes more mainstream."
In the end, Gaiazova said the diagnosis has actually affected her skiing positively since she has been eating better and taking care of her body.
"I know that my body is finally working and absorbing nutrients the way that it should be," she said. "You just have to be really organized with your food and I always travel with lots of food options."
And travelling will become even more a part of her life this summer as she commutes back and forth between Banff and Montreal for her B2ten training.
"Sochi Olympics right now is this big, giant objective for me," she said.
This winter will also see Gaiazova and the National Ski Team take on the World Championships in Italy and more locally a World Cup in Quebec City and as well as in Canmore.
"I really want to do well there, in front of a Canadian crowd and in Canmore more especially in front of the community and practically on a home trail so that is going to be pretty special," she said.
In October and November Gaiazova said she will shift her training back to Canmore and Banff with the Nordic Centre's Frozen Thunder.