Olympic Highlights

As a young athlete competing for Canada on the world circuit, Karen had hoped trampoline would one day become a part of the Olympic program. Her dream came true at the 2000 Sydney Games, when trampoline made its debut as a full medal sport. For Karen, her goal of competing at the Olympics was now within reach.

At the age of 19, Karen participated in her first Olympic Games:

“I don’t think it actually hit me until I was walking into the Opening Ceremonies. Marching in with Team Canada was completely surreal. The Opening Ceremonies is something I’d only watched on TV and it was an incredible experience to be actually living it!”

Karen represented Canada as the sole female competitor in her discipline.

As the youngest trampoline athlete and with a 7th place ranking going into the Games, Karen knew it would be a challenge for her to land on the podium.

At the trampoline finals, Karen set a personal best record and won a bronze medal for Canada.

A year before Athens, Karen had a huge breakthrough at the 2003 World Championships in Hannover, Germany. She was crowned world champion, becoming the first Canadian to do so.

Although she was in a great position leading into the Olympics, Karen fought hard to make her way to the 2004 Summer Games:

“It’s tough to learn to cope with the mental pressures and it’s tough to be perfect in the moment that counts when the whole world is watching.”

After qualifying in 5th place in the preliminaries, Karen rose to the challenge at the finals to land on the podium once again. She won a silver medal in Athens, a poignant achievement for any Olympian:

“My favourite moment was getting the olive wreath placed around my head as I received my medal. The ancient Athlete’s Oath is inscribed on the back of the medal, so it was quite special to be a part of the Games in its birthplace.”

Karen’s journey to the 2008 Olympics had many obstacles. Shortly before the Olympic qualifiers, Karen crashed hard and injured her knee during training. She was told she would need surgery and the doctor gave her two options: receive the surgery immediately OR postpone the surgery for a shot at a third Olympic appearance. Karen chose to train and compete through the pain and earned a ticket to the 2008 Beijing Games.

After her surgery, Karen only had 6 months to return to peak form for the Olympics. With a strong support system behind her, Karen was able to make a full recovery:

“It was a really tough year but I improved every day. By the time I arrived in Beijing, I felt ready and confident that I could make it to the podium. This experience had made me mentally strong and because of that, I became a better athlete.”

Karen proved to be one of Canada’s most consistent athletes and added another Olympic silver to her list of accomplishments. She became the only trampoline athlete to have won a medal at every Olympic Games. She also has the distinction of winning three consecutive medals at three separate games – only five other Canadian athletes have done so in the history of the Games.

Karen was chosen as Canada’s flag bearer for the Closing Ceremonies, an honour reserved for premier Canadian athletes:

“As I marched into the stadium waving the Canadian flag in front of the world, I felt so much pride. I was so grateful to be representing such a wonderful country.”

Karen was at a crossroads after the Beijing Games; she had to decide whether or not she would continue competing in the Olympics. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics became a source of inspiration:

“Seeing how well Canada did in Vancouver was a huge push for me to decide to try for London. I definitely want to be on the podium again and I’m obviously gunning for a gold medal this time.”

At the Olympic qualification event in Birmingham, Karen earned her spot at the 2012 Olympics alongside her teammate, Rosie MacLennan.

Follow Karen’s journey to London 2012. Her Olympic story continues…