An unfortunate injury sidelined Cristy Nurse from competing in the London Olympics. (For those of you who wish to know more about Cristy, check out our article Cristy Nurse: From Show Ring Beauty to World Class Rower). However, the part that has inspired this article is not that she did not compete but rather the class and dignity that she handled it with.
I have had the fortunate opportunity to know the Nurse family for almost 25 years. One of my first recollections of them is Kenda (Cirsty’s mother) judging me during 4-H dairy competitions. Kenda was the first female judge I had ever showed in front of and I was extremely impressed. Women like Kenda and Nancy Hazeleger have been great role models for many of the young female 4-Hers who were looking to make their way in a male dominated industry.
The fine examples set by Kenda and Jeff (Cristy’s father) are probably a big part of why Cristy has been able to handle this very challenging time with such class and dignity. The passion the Nurse family puts into everything they do is outstanding. Whether it is dairy cattle, Clydesdale horses, or rowing, there is always a focused effort to achieve a very specific goal.
That is why the way Cristy has handled this only amazes me more. Imagine all the time and effort she has dedicated while putting her life on hold to train for the London Olympics. ”To be named to the team is great, but to be sitting in the starting gate on race day was what I have been striving for, so yes, it’s a real mix of emotions”, comments Cristy in an email. “I am still very proud to be part of the Canadian contingent in London, but of course it’s extremely disappointing to have gone through all the selection and to have been successful but ultimately not be able to race,” she said. Her boyfriend, Rob Gibson, was a member of the Canadian Men’s eight Team. She is there seeing all the success of others around her realizing their Olympic dream. It could bring most people down. Cristy stands tall. A beaming and passionate support of both teams.
During the interviews that aired during the coverage, the team members were asked what makes London 2012 different from Beijing in 2008, where the Canadian team suffered a heart breaking 4th place finish. Each and every one of them said that it was the “seat race” they had internally to determine who would be on the team. No one was guaranteed their seat. Everyone had to prove themselves. Cristy was selected to be the London 2012 team. What a testament to how far she had developed since taking up rowing in 2006.
On her Facebook page, she said, “The power of sport – hundreds of crazy Canadian fans in tears (of joy) this morning at Eton-Dorney. So amazing to be there and so proud of Rob and the boys. Spontaneously bursting into tears every few minutes. Back tomorrow to watch the girls give it their everything – Go Canada.” Wow! It shows the quality of person, friend, and athlete that Cristy is. All of these attributes she humbly says are ones she learned from her parents and growing up on the dairy farm.
It’s interesting in our first interview with Cristy she pointed out “Work ethic is engrained pretty early on. Few things can harden your resolve to improve like being left on the outside of the ring in a showmanship class or not making the cut at a major show.” Well Cristy, I would think that this is another. Your handling of this has shown once again, how classy you are. I am sure we will be seeing you at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or wherever your passion leads you. You have achieved many amazing things and no doubt there are many more to come. Thank you for being an exceptional Canadian role model and showing us how to stand tall! Olympian indeed!!