Sophie Ogilvie on one day pursuing 'something different' after stepping out boat for good

·4-min read
Sophie Ogilvie on one day pursuing 'something different' after stepping out boat for good
Sophie Ogilvie on one day pursuing 'something different' after stepping out boat for good

HAVING made one career out of safely navigating a vessel through difficult waters, Sophie Ogilvie already has her sights set on one day pursuing another.

The Denny canoeist is in Slovakia this weekend for the European championships, looking to follow up her team medal-winning heroics of 2019 and 2021 while ideally clinching a first piece of individual silverware too.

The 22 year-old is in her third season as part of the GB senior team and with one eye already on the possibility of making the Olympic squad for Paris in 2024.

But the one-time CR Cats Canoe Club alumna also has plans in place to tackle much bigger vehicles when the time comes to step out of the boat for good.

HeraldScotland:
HeraldScotland:

“I think when I finish with canoeing I’m going to venture out into something a bit different”, she reveals, taking a break from training at the Lee Valley White Water Centre just outside London.

“I’m really interested in navigation on ships, oil tankers and vehicles like that. My big brother is an engineer on a ship and that’s something I’ve taken an interest in. So that’s a field I’d like to explore a bit more.

“I’ve done some research on it so I’ll probably head back to Scotland at some point and go back to college for the relevant courses and see where that takes me. If I can explore the world that way, that would be really exciting.”

At the moment it is slalom canoeing that is taking her places, especially with Covid restrictions lifting all around the world allowing a full race programme. She will lean on her past experiences this weekend to try to again finish in the medals while trying not to get too caught up in the excitement of the occasion.

“I’m really happy to be back on the team to race again this summer,” she adds. “I just want to stay in the same frame of mind that I was in for selection and try not to put too much pressure on myself about the final outcome. I’m looking forward to racing a course I’ve not got much experience on and discover more about it. Hopefully I can make the final and take it from there.

“It can be hard sometimes not getting caught up in the emotion of a big event but I’ve been racing for a few years now and I’ve got more experience. I can now zone in on me and ignore any outside noise.

“Winning European silver was one of my highlights last season and in 2019 we won gold in the team event as well. So I’ll look to push on and ideally get an individual medal this time too.”

Ogilvie has been paddling since she was eight years old, initially just for fun alongside her twin sister Rebecca before it became something more serious in her teenage years when she began to compete internationally. There are days, she admits, when it can feel a bit of a strain just getting up and out on a cold, wet morning but overall there is an appreciation that the good days outweigh the bad.

“I started off with my coach back in Scotland, Johnny Brown,” she recalls. “We did some pool sessions one winter and then I trained at Alva and it really kick started from there. I remember Johnny coming to our primary school and talking about this sport. And I was sitting there and thinking, ‘canoe slalom – what is this?’ And then once we had that first session I knew right away this was what I wanted to do. And I’ve just continued on from there and look where I’m at now.

“Sometimes it does feel like a job. When it’s not so good weather in the winter and you’re having to drag yourself out of bed for training sessions then it can feel like a bit of a slog. But most of the time you realise it’s a dream come true getting to do the thing that I love every day. That’s what makes me happy and brings a lot of joy to my life. I’m just lucky to get the opportunity to do that and not everyone gets that.

“This year and next year are really leading up into that Paris cycle and selection. So it’s about getting onto the right path so that come 2023 I’m at my peak to really push for a place on the Olympic team. That’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started racing competitively, the idea of becoming an Olympic champion. I’m really fighting for it and hopefully one day I can get there.”

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