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From rugby to luge, Langford athlete has eyes on 2030 Olympics

Megan Sampson changed sports due to an unexpected phone call
megan-sampson-is-ready-to-huurtle-down-the-luge-course-photo-chrissy-sampson
Megan Sampson has her eyes on the 2030 Olympics for Team Canada in luge.

When the torch is lit for the 2024 Winter Olympics in Paris, France, millions of people will settle down to watch and marvel at the strength, skill speed and determination of some of the best athletes in the world.

As we watch those athletes though, we will rarely consider the long road that they had to navigate to qualify for the competition and the sheer strength of character that was required to achieve their level of excellence.

Consider Langford鈥檚 Megan Sampson.

Sampson has always wanted to excel as an athlete.

She started playing rugby when she was 10 years old and the focus and effort that she displayed, even at that tender age, set her apart from most of her peers.

By the time she was 12, she was asking whether she could try out at the RBC Training Ground. That鈥檚 a talent identification and athlete funding program designed to find young athletes with Olympic potential and provide them with the resources they need to achieve their podium dreams.

Not your usual request for a 12-year-old.

Unfortunately, she was told that she had to be at least 14 years old to try out.

That didn鈥檛 discourage Sampson. Instead, it motivated her to redouble her efforts and training. At 13, she tried out for and was placed on the BC Bears (rugby club) and was later selected for the Tropical Sevens in Florida. That was with the MacDowell Rugby Academy.

Finally, at 14, Sampson got her chance to go to the RBC Training ground, along with more than 2,200 other aspiring athletes where her strength, power, endurance and speed were all evaluated.

But, when she got a call, it wasn鈥檛 from anyone associated with rugby.

鈥淚 got called by Luge Canada and asked to go to a training camp in Calgary and, honestly, I was confused. I knew nothing about luge and was quite surprised. I鈥檇 never even seen it on TV,鈥 said Sampson. 鈥淏ut there was something in the testing that they spotted, and they thought I鈥檇 be good at luge.鈥

So, Sampson headed off to Calgary and had her first experience with the sport.

Now for those who don鈥檛 know a lot about luge, imagine lying on your back on a small sled and hurtling down an icy track at speeds that can reach more than 120 kilometres an hour.

鈥淚t was fun, and I wanted to do it again,鈥 Sampson recalled. 鈥淚t was kind of scary, but I got used to it.鈥

Things progressed and Sampson was named in the top 100 by the RBC Training Ground and was also approached by Luge Canada to begin a three-year training program in which she鈥檒l be completing more than 200 slides a year.

鈥淚f she keeps going (and there鈥檚 nothing to suggest that this little fireball won鈥檛 do just that) she could start competing on a national level in two years,鈥 said Megan鈥檚 mother Chrissy Keddle. 鈥淪he could make a junior national level from there and if she does well, she could look toward the 2030 Olympics.鈥

Circling back to the opening of this profile, pause for a moment to consider the among of training, running and determination it has taken to get Megan Sampson to this point and the hours of running, lifting and training that still lie ahead.

Sampson isn鈥檛 perturbed by the prospect.

鈥淚t would be really exciting to get to the Olympics, and right now it鈥檚 a lot of fun training and competing,鈥 she said.

Oh, and in case anyone thinks that Sampson has forgotten about rugby, they鈥檇 be mistaken.

Sampson still plays for Belmont Secondary School鈥檚 team as well as for the Crimson Tide and the Westshore Rugby Club.

鈥淪he is an awesome rugby player, 鈥渟aid her Belmont coach, Charlotte Haley. 鈥淪he鈥檚 got this amazing work ethic and is willing to challenge herself to do things that are outside her comfort zone. At the same time, she鈥檚 a quiet leader who inspires the whole team.鈥

And those characteristics- characteristics that Sampson shares with virtually all elite athletes - are why we may one day see Megan Sampson at the Olympics.





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