It turns out Langley City BMX champion Drew Mechielsen made her Olympic debut with a broken foot.
Mechielsen didn’t realize it until she’d been home for a few days and went to get a just-in-case x-ray at the urging of the BMX team sports chiropractor, Dr. Jenn Turner.
Mechielsen had rolled her left ankle a few days before she left for Tokyo, but it didn’t seem to be anything unusual.
“I thought I just sprained my ankle,” she recalled.
“I figured I had a really deep bruise.”
Then she came home to a hero’s welcome at the Langley BMX track, taking a victory lap around the course.
A few days after that, she had her x-ray and the technician came back with the results, a fracture in her left foot.
“Did this happen this morning?” Mechielsen recalls the technician asking.
“No, about two weeks ago,” Mechielsen responded.
“Why did you wait?”
“I was at the Olympics.”
It wasn’t a small break, either.
“It’s very broken,” Mechielsen laughed.
“It was a shock.”
With the benefit of hindsight, Mechielsen concedes her foot was causing her substantial pain while in Tokyo, to the point where the throbbing interfered with her sleep.
But Mechielsen, with help from Dr. Turner, was able to keep the swelling down and managed to make the finals and a top-10 finish.
“I had my blinders on,” Mechielsen told the Langley Advance Times.
Still unaware she had a fracture, Mechielsen returned home to a celebration at the Langley BMX track on Sunday, Aug. 1, where she took a victory lap around the track.
Mechielsen who started riding on the Langley track at the age of three, regularly returns, referring to it as her “home track.”
After her Aug. 4 x-ray, she did think about trying to tough it out for an upcoming international competition, but decided against it.
Her injury didn’t become widespread knowledge until Wednesday, Aug, 11, when Cycling Canada announced who would be representing the country at the first UCI BMX World Championships in nearly two years, August 17-22 in Papendal, Netherlands.
”Unfortunately, Olympians Drew Mechielsen and James Palmer both had to withdraw only a few weeks after racing in their first Olympics due to injuries,” the notice said.
The nature of Palmer’s injury was not disclosed but it was no secret that he’d had been dealing with a wrist injury prior to the Olympics.
At the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on Thursday, July 29 and Friday, July 30, Mechielsen qualified for both the women’s BMX Racing semi-final and final rounds.
She achieved an 8th place finish, Canada’s second-best result in the women’s field since the event was introduced at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
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