Hyslop sacrifices for Olympic dream

HARARE - Striking a balance between academics and sport is always a challenge and for Brazil-bound Zimbabwean mountain biker Stacey Hyslop this has not been an exception.

The 21-year-old currently studying Biokenitics at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa is determined to make it to the starting line for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

At the same time, she has to ensure that in four years’ time, she is also on the podium receiving her degree.

Juggling school and training has made her journey to become an Olympian a herculean task.

“I had some time off after school and then went to America to university on a cycling scholarship and came back. I was a bit nervous about coming back to study after the break but I think it did me the world of good,” Hyslop told the Daily News on Sunday.

“All my experiences overseas really helped me approach my studies in a more mature manner and get things done with minimal stress.”

As she is currently preparing to leave for the Brazil Ride 2018’s ninth edition scheduled for October 21- 27, she said managing school and training is difficult but she has fallen into routine and is able to get it done.

Hyslop said the moral support she gets from friends and family has seen her handling her passion and school in a remarkable way.

“The past couple of months leading up to this big event have been particularly challenging as the training load has increased exponentially and the workload has not got any easier,” she said.

“I would not be able to get through it without the constant support from my family and friends. It is so important to have a strong support base. My coach has been amazing in getting me through the challenges I have faced.”

Being the first female mountain biker in Zimbabwe, Hyslop noted that it takes hard work and determination if one entertains any hopes of flying the country’s flag higher during the Olympics in Tokyo.

She highlighted that her passion for biking has kept her focused on achieving her goals.

“Every day when I wake up, no matter how hard the day ahead of me or the training, I remember my Olympics dream and it keeps me going,” she said.

Having started her journey in 2015, Hyslop has a few achievements that she said have hugely contributed towards boosting her confidence.

Earlier, this year she won the African Continental Mountain Biking XCO championships in the under 23 women category in Egypt.

She remarked that this was a very special victory to her as she had been trying to get a gold medal since the beginning of her sporting career.

The biker also won the Zimbabwe National XCO Championships in the under 23 category.

“Another big achievement this year was wining the Zimbabwean National XCO Championships in the U23 category. These races where big goal races on my Olympic dream journey,” the passionate biker said.

“Next year is the big year in terms of qualifying for Olympics. Anything you achieved this year just adds to the confidence and lets me start closer to the front of the field next year.”

Hyslop said she is looking forward to next year’s African Continental Mountain Biking Championships which are the qualifiers for the Olympics.

She added that the South African circuit is also on her list of races as well as national championships to take place in Zimbabwe.

Comments (1)


Michael J Vandeman - 15 October 2018

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