University of Windsor sends off former Lancers like Melissa Bishop to the Olympics
WINDSOR - While she strives to be faster on the track, Melissa Bishop wishes she could slow things down away from the track.
The University of Windsor had a small sendoff four years ago when the Lancer grad scrambled to make the necessary time standard, medal at nationals and earn a spot on Canada's Olympic Games team in 2012 in just a few short weeks.
"In 2012, it was bing, bing, bing, bing, bang and the Olympics were over in a blink," Bishop said.
Tuesday, the school organized another sendoff for Bishop that also included fellow former Lancers Noelle Montcalm and Miah-Marie Langlois, who are also all headed to next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"Time is flying by just as quick," the 27-year-old Bishop said in comparing 2016 to 2012. "As much as I want this to slow down and savour every moment, I'm learning as I get older that these things are only coming once.
"These opportunities are only coming once. This day is only happening once. I'm just trying to savour everything and enjoy everything and not rush it."
Dozens showed up to see Bishop off in 2012 with the event held in the multi-purpose room at the St. Denis Centre. Tuesday's event drew hundreds and was moved to the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse leaving Montcalm a little nervous prior to her speech.
"I'm looking forward to it, but I get more nervous for this stuff than racing," the 28-year-old Montcalm said. "Everyone's looking at you when you're racing, but you don't see that. You're so focused."
Speeches became emotional for both Bishop and Montcalm as they tried to thank the many people involved in making their journey a success along with fans.
"It's a great opportunity to thank our supporters, too," said Montcalm, who will compete in the women's 400-metre hurdles. "Our support team and our people behind us is endless and it's great for us to be able to say thank you to those people."
While Bishop and Montcalm were basking in the attention, Langlois was unable to attend Tuesday's event, but sent thanks by video. She was in Toronto with Canada's women's basketball team making final preparations.
"Our schedule's tight," said the 25-year-old Langlois, who is Canada's starting point guard. "We practice twice a day and then you're trying to recover."
It's made savouring the accomplishment tough at times for Langlois, but she does have her moments.
"When we walk in a group, people will ask if we play for Canada and want to take a picture, but nothing crazy," Langlois said. "It's tough, but you can lose site of that. You have to remember it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"Nike's been great and held a few sendoff parties for us, but there are other times where you have to savour the moment and sometimes, when you step on the court, you just have to take a breath and take it in."
Her second time around, Bishop, who is the Canadian record holder in the women's 800 metres, has stopped to try and take the moment in with everyone. She never hesitates to pause for a photo with a fan or take a moment to sign an autograph.
"I think it's just the opportunity," Bishop said. "This career is so short and I don't want to let these times slide by me because this opportunity only happens so many times in a lifetime.
"I had people I looked up to that inspired me and my hope is that I can inspire others the same way."