February 19, 2010 Features & Images » Feature Story

Walking the talk 

Whistler athletes represent in Whistler style


Page 9 of 13

To say that the team's morale was low when they arrived at Whistler for the last speed race of the season is like saying Tiger Woods has a problem with women. Things were not looking promising at all for the young Canuckleheads.

Who knows where the 23-year-old Boyd got his inspiration. From the steep powder run he charged down minutes before his race? From the breezy reggae music playing through his earphones? From the gaggle of friends who raucously partied on the side of the course? Doesn't really matter now, does it?

In what has become a legendary moment at Whistler, Boyd pushed out of the start gate and proceeded to dismantle the opposition. Didn't matter that the biggest names of that era - Zurbriggen and Heinzer and Mueller and Girardelli and Piccard and Ortlieb - were all in attendance. Didn't matter that he was behind until the last hundred vertical metres of the race. The guy was victorious when everyone else had predicted defeat. In one fell swoop - and against all odds - Rob Boyd had become the first Canadian male to win a World Cup race at home.

"What a party that was," sighs the hometown boy, now 20 years older. "It was like all of Whistler came together that night to celebrate my win. It was almost overwhelming for me. There were so many good wishes - so many people in the community who had helped me get there - that I didn't know who to thank first..."

He stops. Sighs. "Now that I'm a dad," he explains, "I think about that kind of stuff a lot more. Whistler has changed since I was a teenager living at the base of the mountain. But I still think it has the potential to become one of the country's premiere athlete development centres. And I really want to make that happen."

It's a very simple goal, he says. "I want Whistler to become a place where people say, 'Wow - that's the town where all those great athletes come from.' I think that's how Whistler could continue to be a truly inspiring community. Why? Because it truly takes a whole community to bring up world-class athletes ..."

Boyd is convinced that community success comes from fostering the right team spirit. "I think if people reach out and aim just a little higher than what they're comfortable with, they'll find that there are a lot more winning opportunities out there for them. As a sports community, Whistler has this huge potential. We just have to keep believing in ourselves."

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