Windsor track athlete-turned nurse keeps Olympics dream alive
Published Sunday, May 10, 2020 6:22PM EDT
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor-born track athlete, Noelle Montcalm, helped Canada place 4th in the 4x400 metres relay in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympics. She was in the process of qualifying again for the 2020 Tokyo Games before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Olympics to next year.
“We were just getting into our groove of training and things we’re going very well. We were looking forward to our national championship trials that would’ve been held this summer,” says Montcalm.
She specializes in the 400 metres hurdles. For the last four years, she has dedicated her life to becoming the best possible athlete. At 32 years old, she says this year was her last push at an Olympics Games.
“It’s almost like time is has been standing still. Did I want it to be this year? Of course. Do I agree with the decision that it’s postponed? Absolutely.”
As training facilities are closed, Montcalm improvises by training on a treadmill at home or at a local high school track. With her four-year cycle now reset, her plan is to maintain physically but build mentally.
“I’m working on my weaknesses. We’ve constantly had to shift our training and mindset. I’m taking a step back and focusing on the goals for the next year.”
For Montcalm, a step back means a step into her scrubs. Despite working as a full time athlete, she also finds time to pursue her passion for healthcare.
“It’s the gratification of helping people day to day, to see small changes in their health,” she says.
The patients at the University of Windsor’s student health clinic know her as “Nurse Montcalm”.
“Before the pandemic we were doing a lot of immunization for students, STI screening and wound care. We do a lot of different things here at the clinic.”
The clinic has since closed its doors to in-person appointments amidst the pandemic and offers telephone services instead.
“A lot of our students calling in with concerns maybe symptoms they think might they have,” she says.
Despite balancing her time as both a nurse and sprinter, she knows it will take a marathon approached to make it back on the Olympics stage.
“I’m still going to remain focused. The goal is still the same, it’s just on a different timeline right now.”