As a contortionist for the circus, Rachel Siemens understood the physical demands meant a potentially short career. However, it was shortened even earlier by an injury and so she chose to study kinesiology at UVIC. Rachel became a self-described gym rat and passionate about Olympic Weightlifting. Slowly she worked her way up the Canadian ranks and used Cloud-funding to compete at the World University Games in Russia. There, she saw years of training boil down to six short minutes (three attempts at “Snatch” and three at “Clean & Jerk”) judged purely on technique and amount of weight lifted. With new goals and her coaches wisdom, she is fighting to make the National Team requiring a 91+kg (200lbs) Snatch and a 115+kg (254lbs) Clean & Jerk. For Siemens, Weightlifting is meditation; harnessing her inner strength and moving passed personal issues she is able to let it all go. Rachel inspires others with her blog and coaching while focusing on attending the Commonwealth Games 2014.
In pursuit of his passions, thirteen year old Austin Black has a motto, “Live the life you love; don’t let it live you.” During seven years of training Shotokan Karate along side his grandfather, it seemed Black also started to excel in other areas – as an inspiring young instructor, an encouraging lacrosse teammate, and a familiar face in theatre. More importantly, the art form’s original philosophy of avoiding violence provided some positive self-discipline. Recently, while participating in the Vancouver Island Coastal Martial Arts Open, Black took gold in three categories including Grand Champion. However, in addition to the metals he received something unexpected – an invitation to the TAFISA’s world tournament. Black then raised two thousand dollars to attend the event and took home bronze in Kata 13/14 using traditional hand techniques and silver in Weapons 13/14. Black hopes to re-qualify for Team Canada / TAFISA in two years and to also one day attend the Funakoshi Worlds.