My interest in running and swimming developed early on, largely due to my parent’s influence and encouragement. At the same time, and what would eventually be reflected upon as a life-changing moment, a close friend and neighbour lent a pony to our family so that I could learn to ride. As I developed my skills as an equestrian athlete and concurrently in the pool, I became increasingly involved in an incredible new sport that I had just been introduced to – Modern Pentathlon.
The sport of pentathlon consists of five events: running, swimming, shooting, fencing, and equestrian jumping. Pentathlon has been an Olympic sport since 1912, and was created by the same individual who instituted the modern Olympic Games - Baron de Coubertin of France. The sport of pentathlon is based upon an event that the Greeks staged during the original Olympics in the third century B.C. At that time, the pentathlon events were long jump, javelin, discus, running, and wrestling. As with the Greek Pentathlon, which demonstrated the skills of a warrior, the modern version represents the skill-set of the contemporary soldier facing battle. In both instances, the sport’s objective was/is to determine the most “complete” athletes.
At 13, I tried my first full pentathlon event. Initially, the simple pleasure of sport activity piqued my interest. Over time, emotions stemming from a developing self-esteem, an increasing pride in my work ethic, and improving performances propagated a deeper desire to fully commit myself to high- performance sport and to represent Canada at the highest level.
From a young age, I held the Olympic Games in the highest regard. I understood that the Games often portrayed human nature in its most beautiful form. The 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, where I reside, played a contributing role in this. The desire to be an Olympian stuck with me for years as evidenced by my statement in my 2001 High School Graduation Yearbook, which simply stated “Josh’s goal is to qualify for the Olympics.”
It has been a rewarding struggle up to this point in pursuing. I have received very little federal government funding ($6,000 in 2008, and nothing before or after), so I have relied largely on sponsors, my parents, and personal income. Regardless of these detracting factors, I have made the decision to devote everything I can to become the strongest athlete possible and give myself the best opportunity to succeed. Thus far, I have developed on schedule. Without funding, I conquered an obstacle that had not been achieved in 16 years - it was not since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that Canada had qualified a male athlete in the Modern Pentathlon for the Games. As the quality of athletes internationally is very strong, it is extremely difficult to secure a qualification spot for an Olympic Games.
I now look forward to the next step. I was amongst the youngest athletes competing in Beijing at age 24. The average age of the medallists in Beijing was 32.
Looking over the next two years towards London, it is critical that I am exposed to numerous high performance competitions such as the World Cup Circuit, World Championships, Pan American Games and other world class events. In particular, the significance of the World Cups is critical to personal development and gauging progress.
I believe that I am a strong contributor to Canada’s and Alberta’s sporting environment. A highly devoted athlete who values integrity and passion for sport, I have produced substantial and recognized results thus far, and am working hard to progress further with London 2012 in my sight. I am incredibly driven to make this happen, and look forward to sharing my experience with you all.