Cross-country skier Anna Zimmerman returned to Sylvan Lake early this week after competing at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.
All competitors were under the age of 23 and Zimmerman, 17, was the youngest to compete. She entered competitions both individually and as part of a team.
Although neither her nor her team won any medals, she said her team came close to a bronze medal, but missed by a mere 40 seconds.
Zimmerman said she entered the Games with an individual goal of becoming one of the top 40 fastest skiers. She said she was pleasantly surprised when she placed in the top 25, as she landed in 21st place in her first competition of the 7.5-kilometre classic long run.
“Personally, I think I did really well,” Zimmerman said. “I was really surprised to be in the top 25, but this entire Canada Winter Game experience has definitely been a huge athletic step to my career.”
Zimmerman said she was not expecting to do as well as she did, as all the girls she was competing with and against were older than her.
“I expected to get into the top 40,” she said. “I was overwhelmed and shocked with my results.”
Zimmerman said the experience made her realize what she can do as an athlete, and said it pushed her to become a better skier.
She said she feels good about her success and finds it satisfying as she has been skiing since the age of four.
She also felt it was rewarding being able to race against Canada’s best.
At the Games, Zimmerman said she received support from her teammates, her family who cheered her on and her friends who wished her luck.
“They all have their expectations in what I can do,” Zimmerman said. “But at the same time, they still congratulated me and they know that I’ve done my best out there.”
Along with the goal of being in the top 40, Zimmerman said she wanted to have fun.
She accomplished that goal not just at the Games, but also in Prince George, where she was able to explore and meet other athletes from across the country.
“It’s cool to see and learn what their culture is like,” she said.
Zimmerman said her next goal is to compete at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.