Jay Ort taking it all in
A Carman resident is back home after competing in the second Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China from August 16-28. Jay Ort competed in the 3,000, 1,500, and 800 metre races finished first place in the 3,000 metre B-side final with a time of 8:31.05. The Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event organized by the International Olympic Committee. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format.
"It was unreal to be there," explained Ort. "It was pretty exciting. Everything we did was big, loud, and extravagant. It was just a great place to be. The atmosphere was insane inside the Youth Olympic Village, and at all of the venues. It was lots of fun, there was lots of activities to do. There's lots of people to meet, and things to see. It was very busy and crazy, but I loved every second of it."
Ort says his favourite part about the Youth Olympics was setting a new personal best in the 3,000 metre race with a time of 8:23.76 in the preliminary round.
"I lowered my 3,000 metre time by sixteen seconds, which was a big drop for me," explained Ort. ''I had been struggling with that specific race, and not quite running to where I thought I was capable of. Finally being able to lower it a lot really made the trip really worth it, and really allowed me to enjoy myself after my competition, and enjoy everything else a bit more than I would have."
"I think it was definitely the field that helped. There was a lot of people there who had some quick times for the 3,000. Being able to get into a race with them, and being dragged along to a faster time was definetly helpful. I think I was just mentally and physically prepared to pull off a big time. I knew that going into China, knowing that I was ready for that. I just had to believe and be confident in what I was capable in doing."
Still being in high school, and having the opportunity to not only compete in a different country but participate in some form of the Olympics, is a huge honour.
"When I found out I was pretty ecstatic," explained the now grade twelve student. "It was quite the honour to represent Manitoba, and Canada at an international event. With the team being so small, and not a whole lot of people from Canada going, I felt very honoured and privileged to be able to do that."
It's every athlete's dream to be able to represent their province or even country.
"It made me very proud to represent Canada, and to stand on the start line with some of the world's best athletes from my age," said Ort. "It really gave me a sense of pride, and a patriotic sense for Canada. Being able to wear my country's colours, and represent The Maple Leaf. Even outside of competition, just in the village, wearing all the Canada stuff. People come up to you and ask if you're from Canada and talk about that. It was fun. I really liked it."
Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, Basketball, and many other sports are available in Carman, but what made Ort choose running?
"I was actually first involved with triathlon, when I was 10. After a few years of that, it got a little difficult to do the swimming and biking out in Carman with no indoor pool. I decided to stick with the running, and seek out the advice of a coach here in Carman. He was helping me with my triathlon running, and he told me to try some cross country running, and track meets, and I ended up liking it a bit more."
Ort noted showing improvement, and setting new personal bests as the best parts about running.
He outlined his goals for his final year competing in the Manitoba High School Athletic Association.
As for his future after high school, Ort would like to attend and compete at a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) school in the United States. adding he's currently looking at a number of schools.
Team Canada's Athletics (Track and Field) Team and Coaches
*Photo's submitted by Jay Ort