No dream is too big for Kelsie Ahbe.
The 2009 Green High School graduate has her sights set on Rio. And by 2016, she’s hoping to be there as a pole vaulter in the Olympics.
“Not everyone understands what I am doing,” Ahbe said of her biggest dreams. “I know God has opened the door, so to me, it is totally doable because of my faith and God’s direction, this is possible.”
Ahbe hopes to represent Canada – her father’s native country – in the Olympic Games. Getting there is certainly possible, but she also knows that reaching those dreams requires a lot of practice and a lot of hard work.
To qualify, Ahbe will be challenged to compete at the highest levels and must be able to jump the World A standard of 4.60 meters (15 feet).
“I would not keep training if I did not think I could do it,” Ahbe said.
Time after time, Ahbe has proven she can meet the goals she sets.
At Green, Ahbe competed in track and field and played soccer all four years. She was a club gymnast three years and swam her senior year. In 2007 and 2008 she finished as the state champion pole vaulter and, at one point, evenheld the state record in the event.
An all-around athlete, Ahbe followed her heart to track and field. She attended Indiana University where she competed in pole vault and obtained an undergrad in public health. Currently, she is working on her masters through Indiana for public health administration.
During her senior year at Indiana, Ahbe was redshirted. This allowed her continue training and compete another season while continuing her studies.
The move paid off; 2014 was a big year for Ahbe.
She was runner-up at the Outdoor NCAA Championships, earned All-American honors, was a Big Ten Champion, set the Big Ten record and set the Indiana school record in the pole vault.
ON HER WAY
Ahbe’s road to the Olympics will begin in Knoxville, Tenn. There she will train with a small group and work with Tim Mack, a Cleveland native and 2004 Olympic gold-medal winner.
And it’s going to be far from easy.
Her training schedule runs from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. everyday and it’s a schedule she plans to keep for the next two years.
Ahbe understands, though, that following her dreams requires all the hours and dedication of a full-time job, but without the pay. As a young athlete with little name recognition, she has to do most of it without the financial backing of sponsors. When expenses pile up and stretch her budget, the road will get tougher.
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