“I’m A Competitive Athlete And My Sport Isn’t Very ‘Feminine’.”

Champion timber sport athlete Caitlin Carroll talks about how to compete in a typically male sport and how to recover from failure.

Caitlin Carroll, timber sports

Caitlin Carroll – a timber sports athlete

It is 2017. Yet we still think of sports as being categorized for women and for men. What gives? But even with these obstacles women are continuing to crush stigmas and records. Take 24-year-old Caitlin Carroll a Canadian timber sports athlete and registered veterinary technician in Nova Scotia. Instead of pliés or rounds of tennis, she tosses axes, saws wood and more. Last year she won the Canadian nationals – first-ever for the women’s category – at the 2016 STIHL Timbersports Championships. So how exactly did Carroll do that? I asked her.

Why was it important for you to go into timber sports?

“Across the world [it] is heavily male dominated. The Canadian STIHL Timbersports Series is the first country in the world to have a women’s pro division. It has been a privilege, as a woman athlete to compete and represent equality within our sport. Since the Canadian Series began, there are now divisions in various European countries and the USA.”

How did you train?

“In 2013, the Canadian series organized a women’s championship, including various women of eastern Canada, myself included. The next year [in 2014], it was announced there would be a STIHL Canadian Championship for women. That first year, I trained every chance I could, we had to qualify to make it to the championships and I really wanted to make it. My first year, I didn’t make it to the championships. I had a disqualification in stock saw, which cost me, and again in 2015. Stock saw is more of a mental event than physical and, due to my streak of bad luck, I truly never knew if I would make it to the Championships. In 2016, I had a successful qualifier, placing third overall and moving on to the championships.

“Going into the championships for 2016, I was truly unsure how I would do. At the end of the event when I was crowned the champion, I was in complete awe! The moment when all you had been hoping for comes true is incredible. I remember telling myself through the event, you can only do your best and if you do that you can’t lose regardless of your place.”

What did you learn from your training?

“The biggest lesson I learned throughout has been to keep trying. Had it not been for my mistakes in the beginning I may have never made it to where I am now.”

What would you want others to know from your journey to make their journey successful?

“Things might not always go as we want, but it’s how you choose to proceed and move past it that makes all the difference. I could have stopped trying to make it into the championships after having not one, but two bad qualifiers, but I kept trying and I can now say I am a Canadian Champion.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“One thing I believe that has made me into a better person and a better athlete is something I was told when I was 12: Everyone will have a different way to do the same thing; each will tell you their way is best. What you have to do is try each way; take bits and pieces of each and make it into your own.”

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