The following is a letter from Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell.
To everyone in the Yukon,
I am writing this letter to each of you, young and old. I am about to embark on my second adventure at the Olympic Games and one regret I have from my last experience was I did not share it. I didn’t engage the people who helped build the foundation of who I am now, in the way I should have. To be perfectly honest I did not realize that anyone would be overly interested or benefit from my experience.
For all the young people, I want you to know I have come from where you come from. I was a small, Yukon kid that was willing to accept the help and support of the Yukon community. We have great strength in our young people and after traveling the world on this journey I have realized we are one of the few places in the world that believes in the power and potential of our young people. If you do watch the Olympics this year I want you to know I am competing for you. I want you to believe you can get to places just as amazing as the Olympics. I did from the same seats you will be sitting in as you watch.
To the Games, I carry the spirit of the North. I head to London with all your hopes and the push of your support behind me. This time I go to show the world the power of what a northerner can be. I go to show what our humble northern strength can create. I want everyone to get excited, feel that spirit and engage in the Olympics with the knowledge that you have played a role in getting me there. If I come back with a medal I don’t want people to think, ‘Look what he did,’ I want you to celebrate in what WE did. Celebrate with your fellow sourdough in our achievement.
Finally, I don’t know what will happen come the competition but I want everyone to know how thankful I am for your support. To attend one Olympics as a Yukoner was a childhood dream. To attend a second as a contender for a medal is beyond words.
– Zach Bell
The 29-year-old Bell will be representing Canada in men’s track cycling, specifically the six-race omnium event, on August 4 and 5 at the Games in London.
A silver-medal performance by Bell at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in April earned Canada its spot in the omnium event at the Games.
Bell made the podium at both UCI Track World Cup Tour events he competed at this season with a silver in Cali, Colombia, and a bronze at a world cup in London. Those results put Bell in fourth at the end of the world cup tour.
He finished in first place in the UCI World Cup series in 2011.
In his first Olympics, the 2008 Beijing Games, Bell finished seventh in the points race and 12th in the men’s Madison event.
Bell is not the only Yukoner – nor the only Watson Laker – going to the London Games on Team Canada. Two others are going as alternates. Watson Lake’s Brittanee Laverdure is first-alternate for Canada’s wrestling team for the second Olympics in a row. And Whitehorse’s Jeane Lassen will be an alternate for Canada’s weightlifting team.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org