Kelowna’s Will Dean will realize a childhood dream when he competes in his first Olympic Games later this month in London.
The 25-year-old KSS grad and son of former world class triathlete, Jo-Anne Ritchie, will compete as a member of the Canadian men’s four rowing crew.
Dean is currently in Italy training with the national rowing squad.
Capital News reporter Warren Henderson connected with Dean via email this week to get his thoughts leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Q: What was your reaction to recently being named to the Olympic team ?
A: I was honoured and humbled. I train with an amazing group of guys, and it’s unfortunate that there aren’t more seats in the boat because every one of them is a great athlete with huge potential.
Q: Tell us about your evolution with the national program and how you moved up through the ranks to become an Olympian.
A: I started rowing for the under 23 program in 2008 while rowing for U.C. Berkeley. Every summer I would come up to Elk Lake (Victoria) and train for a few weeks before heading off to the under 23 world championships. When I graduated in 2010, I moved to Victoria to train full time. Last summer in Slovenia, I qualified in the boat I’m in now for the upcoming London Olympics.
Q: What has been the highlight of your rowing career with the Canadian team so far ?
A: Although I was definitely happy to be named to London Olympic team, the highlight of my career so far was qualifying the men’s four for the Olympics in Slovenia last year. We came together as a boat and had an phenomenal final race. I hope that we can build on that performance this summer.
Q: What are your thoughts about rowing in the same program with another athlete from Kelowna and an Olympic medalist, Scott Frandsen ?
A: Scott Frandsen is an amazing athlete because even though he has accomplished so much, he still approaches each day with an unrelenting sense of purpose and intensity. Scott holds himself to high standard, and leads by example day in day out. It’s a rare day when Scott’s not the first one to practice. Beyond that, Scott is simply a really great guy who is well-liked by everyone. It’s awesome to have him as teammate.
Q: What are your expectations for London ?
A: I try to not get too wrapped up in expectations, because I can’t control the speed of other boats. All I can focus on right now is going as fast as possible on the day of the race. Of course, I want to do well, but my only expectation is that I get the best out of myself and my teammates.
Dean will compete in the men’s 4 with Anthony Jacob of Vancouver, North Vancouver’s Michael Wilkinson, and Derek O’Farrell of Montreal.