Road to Paris with Kelsey Mitchell

As we approach one of the biggest international sporting events on the calendar, we’re talking to Argon 18 athletes who have qualified for Paris to hear about their training, goals, and inspiration along the way. Read on to hear from Team Canada track cyclist Kelsey Mitchell.

Argon 18: What’s your main goal in Paris?

Kelsey Mitchell: My goal in Paris is to go and represent Canada to the best of my abilities. Obviously, I want to go and defend my Olympic gold medal from Tokyo as well. I know what I am capable of at my best, so the goal is to get to Paris feeling confident in my legs and in myself when I get on that start line.

Argon 18: What was the biggest challenge you faced along the way to Olympic qualification? We know you’ve recently overcome an injury, for example.

Kelsey Mitchell: 2023 was a very tough year for me. I had never worked so hard, been so focused on my training and recovery, just to see myself get slower and slower. My body wasn't responding well to the training and I constantly felt like I was broken. Mentally it was obviously very hard to go through: knowing it was Olympic qualifying year, and I was continuing to show up without the speed and power that I had previously. BUT, I learned A LOT. I grew a lot as an athlete and a person. And I am grateful for the last year and what it has taught me.

Argon 18: How is Olympic prep different from other major events? Do you have a different approach, different training location or partners?

Kelsey Mitchell: For me I don't treat it any differently than other events. Regardless of the race, I want to be as prepared as possible. My confidence comes from my preparation. So to me, each training session needs to be quality. The one nice thing about the Olympic year is that everyone is on the same page, so the support is there, the intensity is matched, and it actually is easier for me to train now with the Olympics around the corner.

Argon 18: What are your major milestones/events in the lead-up to Paris? What results are you hoping to see?

Kelsey Mitchell: All the major events are now complete. We got the points we needed at the Pan Am Championships and at the Milton Nation Cup. Qualification period is officially over! So now, the fun part: putting my head down and putting in the work. I wasn't able to get on the podium at the Nation Cup, but I gained a lot of confidence back. My speed was coming back and that's exactly what I needed to see leading into I am feeling good!

Argon 18: This is not your first Olympics, and we’re sure you have a wealth of experience you can offer your teammates. What advice can you offer young athletes hoping to one day represent their country at the Olympic level? 

Kelsey Mitchell: There is so much advice I could what you do, work hard, show up every single day, etc... but something I got lucky enough to learn more recently is to enjoy the highs, and be grateful for the lows. The winning moments are amazing, but where you learn and where you grow is in the lows. Embrace them, accept them, and know that you will come out an even better version of yourself.