ormer Lancers 800m runner Melissa Bishop knows exactly what needs to be done to gain a spot for the 2012 London Olympics.
Bishop completed her fifth year of eligibility last season while attending teachers college at the University of Windsor in both physical education and biology for the high school level.
“Knowing the Olympics is this summer, I think this is a big year and I get right up and keep pushing through,” Bishop said. “There are so many opportunities after this year, its not just this summer, it’s the next four years.”
While never taking a summer off,Bishop was able to continue her training. “I’ve always had a summer season, and through [Lancers head coach] Dennis Fairall we’ve gotten the opportunity to race in Europe every summer. We are lucky because Dennis has such a great rapport in the track community. He has so much interest and dedication to the sport.”
“My 800’s drastically changed the first summer we went to Europe I could not break 2:10. The next summer in Lebanon at the Francophone Games I ran 2:06, and then the next year I was 2:04 and last summer 2:02,” Bishop said, adding that she needs to run under 2:02 for the upcoming qualification.
The Eaganville, Ont., native must run 2:01 twice to qualify in the nationals–which will be held in Calgary in June–to be considered for the Olympic team.
“Not far off from a 2:02, but once you start getting lower in time it gets harder to shave off that time,” Bishop said.
Once she gains this time, she will be placed in a pool with other qualifiers to be chosen for the Olympic team.
While Bishop is now training full-time, she is taking every measure to stay healthy and at the top of her game.
“I’m sleeping in an altitude tent every night which pumps oxygen into the tent however many feet you want to sleep at.
I’m currently at 6,000 feet and every 30 seconds it lets out a breath of air.”
“The athlete support at Windsor and the track family alone is above and beyond what I have ever seen, I don’t think I could train anywhere else.”
Bishop will continue to train and will have her first race of the 2012 season Saturday at Grand Valley State University.