August 14, 2007 (Calgary, AB) – It was a day Monique Sullivan of Alberta won’t soon forget. “It doesn’t hit you right away,” said Sullivan, “It wasn’t until a while later when I was standing on the podium when I looked around at everyone in the infield and realized that very few people get to be happy at the end of the day.”
Sullivan was one of the lucky ones – she not only claimed the bronze medal in the Women’s Keirin event at the Junior World Track Cycling Championships in Augalientes, Mexico, but she overcame the greatest hurdle in her career to date.
“I was physically ready for the competition and on the first day I qualified first in the 200 meters which gave me a by to the eighth sprint finals,” said Sullivan, who went on to win her eighth and the quarter final races that day. “But I had never done a full sprint series and I wasn’t used to the downtime – between sprints there was so much time to think and mentally it took everything I had to stay focused.”
The next day Sullivan began to lose steam. After losing her first race, she began to lose focus and lost all of her subsequent races finishing fourth overall. Sullivan felt deflated as she’d hoped for better. It was hard enough dealing with losing every race that day and she began to lose confidence and doubt her abilities.
“I had to do something to get myself back on track, so I did what I had been doing all year. I turned to my journal,” said Sullivan. “Throughout the year I write things down – things that motivate me – and it worked. I was able to turn it around.”
Sullivan was able to refocus and won the first round of the keirin heats. In her mind, the greatest accomplishment was in winning the battle in her head. She managed to overcome her doubts and later finished third.
Rather than being discouraged about not doing as well as she had hoped in the Sprint event Sullivan is recharged.
“There is so much for me to learn, the more I race the more I can see what I need to do to get better,” said Sullivan. “By losing I learned more than if I had won.”