Name: Lucas Smith
1. Tell us about yourself:
Before specializing in biathlon, I was very involved in the cross-country ski world where I developed my roots and learned to love skiing. Recently, I’ve had the chance to join the Whistler Nordic Development Centre (W-NDC), a training centre out in Whistler, BC where I continue to push myself and bring my athletic skills to the next level. When I’m not shooting and skiing, you might find me with a camera in hand taking photos and documenting all the places I visit through biathlon. Sport has always been a big part of my life as I love being outdoors and enjoying being active with my friends.
2. How did you get involved in your sport?
I got involved in my sport at an open house event hosted by Biathlon Manitoba. Once I tried it, I was instantly hooked. After that day, it took me another season to convince my parents to register me as part of the program. Since then, it has become my passion and I continue to work at it daily.
3. Describe a typical week in your life as you prepare for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
At this point in our training, we’re preparing for the race season by doing lots of high-intensity work and fine-tuning our shooting skills. Typically, we train anywhere from 12-20 hours a week depending on our focus and goals for the month. On top of all this, we spend countless hours on the range going over our shooting skills, plus the time we spend stretching and recovering.
4. Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career and why?
The person with the greatest influence on my athletic career is Megan Imrie, former Olympian from Falcon Lake. People don’t often think of our province when it comes to biathlon, so it’s really amazing to have an Olympian to set the example of what we are capable of.
5. What is your favourite sport-related memory to date?
My favourite memory comes from the 2017 Canadian National Biathlon Championships where I achieved a gold medal in the Sprint Event. Having come down with a cold earlier in the week, I was expecting to have a poor set of races. But, with some mental perseverance, focused shooting, and a bit of luck, I was able to pull my race together just in time to beat the other competitors. This memory is so important to me as it serves as a constant reminder that in racing, anything is possible and you should never expect an outcome until you see the results sheet. It felt absolutely amazing to be named National Champion after spending so many years working up to that level. This memory motivates me every day and I hope to bring this level of performance to the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
6. What are your pre-competition routines?
Pre-competition routines for me are all about consistency. Everything from my meals, to my specific race warmup, is planned and has been rehearsed over and over before race day. There will always be things I cannot control (weather, start time, course conditions) but part of being a good athlete is being adaptable. In terms of specifics, I usually wake up at least 3 hours before my start time. Next is a hearty (and rather plain) bowl of quinoa, honey, milk, and various other toppings I can find. Once I’ve eaten, I try and get out for a short jog to get the muscles moving. This gives me a chance to rehearse my mental focus and go through my goals for the race. By this point, it’s time to leave for the race venue, so headphones in and check to make sure I have all my gear. Once at the race venue, it’s a process of getting changed, preparing my rifle, collecting my race skis, having a pre-race snack, and zeroing (zeroing is the process where we align our rifle’s sights with the target for the conditions of the day). Once all this has been completed, I should be fairly “dialed in” and ready to hit the course!
7. What is the best advice you have ever received as an athlete?
It might go without saying, but every single pro athlete has always stressed that you need to have fun and really enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise there’s no point. It’s simple but very easy to forget and lose sight of when you really want to perform well and win. Everybody has bad races and tough days while training, so staying true to your goals and your love for the sport is crucial to staying focused and remaining happy long-term.
8. What is your favourite pump up song?
Normally, I’m a big fan of Arcade Fire and other alternative style music. But when it comes to racing, I usually opt for Electronic music, so if I had to name one song it would be “Invincible” by Big Wild.
9. What are your goals for the upcoming 2019 Canada Winter Games?
Attending the Canada Games has always been a goal of mine and I’ve been working towards it for most of my biathlon career. For the 2019 Games, I’d like to put Manitoba back on the map for biathlon. I want to finish within the top 5 in at least one of the events and it would be really amazing to achieve a podium finish! All the athletes at the games are going to be on their “A-game” so it’s going to be some really tight competition. That being said, I think that with the right preparation, focus, and mindset, anything is possible. The people who win at the Games will be those who can put everything together on race day.
10. What’s next for you?
Biathlon, biathlon, and more biathlon. Being selected to the W-NDC is a huge step for me. From here, I hope to spend the next few years building on my athletic skills and gradually transitioning to the international stage. Biathlon is a sport that takes many years of dedicated hard work before you see the results that win world cups. So, for now, I plan to work hard, gain experience at the elite levels of biathlon, and show the world what I can achieve in this sport!