HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Cody Sorensen is returning to the Winter Olympic Games.
It took eight years, a period in which he bought an old house, took on a full-time job with Welch Capital Partners and maintained his fitness off and on, but the Glebe Collegiate Institute grad will be at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre start line in the men’s four-man bobsleigh competition at next month’s 2022 Beijing Games.
Sorensen was named Thursday as part of the 21-member bobsleigh-skeleton sliding team, which also will include bobsledder Mike Evelyn of Ottawa and speedy skeleton racer Mirela Rahneva of Ottawa.
After coming close to making the 2010 Vancouver Olympic squad, Sorensen, 32, was a solid choice for the 2014 Sochi Games. The Canadian four-man team piloted by Justin Kripps was in sixth place after the first run, but crashed late in the second run and slid upside down across the finish line for 27th place.
Sorensen and Ben Coakwell couldn’t participate in the third of four runs the next day. Canada’s placing after three runs didn’t qualify it for the final run. A concussion ended Sorensen’s first Olympic experience.
“The team is incredibly excited,” Sorensen wrote in a newsletter to supporters. “We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a team in China in a few weeks. Each race we have continued to improve and we are without a doubt ready for the big stage.”
Sorensen, who is the director of mergers and acquisitions with Welch Capital Partners, said at the start of the season that it would take a few races for his team to put together some good results.
It probably took longer than he expected as they ranked between 11th and 15th in their first six races. But in the last two races, Spring’s team cracked the top 10 with an eighth in Winterberg, Germany, and a ninth last weekend on the natural ice course in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The bobsleigh team also had to deal with a rash of COVID-19 positive tests early in 2022.
Evelyn is in his second season on the World Cup circuit, after being identified by recruiters as a potential bobsleigh athlete during an Atlantic Canada RBC Training Ground program three years ago. Besides racing with Sorensen, Giguere and Spring in the four-man sled, Evelyn is the brakeman for Spring in the two-man and had a pair of four-place World Cup results this season out of four races.
A former CCHL junior and Dalhousie University hockey player, Evelyn, 28, switched athletic gears to bobsleigh after earning his engineering degree.
Rahneva, 33, will compete in her second Olympics, after placing 12th in the 2018 PyeongChang Games in Korea. She missed the 2020-21 season because of a neck injury and recovery.
She slowly returned to form this season, scoring two bronze medals on the World Cup circuit. Her second bronze came last week at St. Moritz. During the 2019-20 World Cup season, she had five top-five finishes and one silver medal.
Former Carleton University Ravens football player Jay Dearborn of Yarker, ON (north of Kingston) was also named to the team. The 27-year-old Saskatchewan Roughrider is set to push for Taylor Austin’s Canada-3 four-man bobsled. Dearborn has also been moved up to push for Spring in two-man (10th in Winterberg) and Justin Kripps’ four-man team in St. Moritz (fifth place).
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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