Journalism grad paddling to Sydney Olympics

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By Noah Love

Ed Winchester seemed like a typical Ryerson journalism student during his last year of school. He sacrificed sleep, money and a social life so he could accomplish his goal.

But because he succeeded he hasn’t picked up a note pad and pencil since. His goal was to make Canada’s Olympic lightweight, six-man rowing team and go to Sydney, Australia, this fall.

Hours of training in between classes finally paid off for Winchester last summer when he qualified for the games at a world meet.

Although he has qualified to be on the team, his performance at an Olympic training camp in Victoria will be determine whether he’ll be in the boat in Sydney, or used as a spare.

Right now, Winchester is training with his partner of four years, Ben Storey, a Yukon native. Of the four pairs training for the event, the best three will race. Currently, Winchester and Storey are ranked fourth.

The 29-year-old is optimistic about his chances of competing at the Olympics. “There’s a great chance,” he says. “Injuries are very common in rowing.” Winchester is a prime example, he had to have surgery on his back in 1998.

Winchester has been rowing for the last 14 years. It is a strenuous lifestyle.

Last year, while at Ryerson, training forced him to miss the entire first semester. He had to make up the work by taking a full course load in the second semester.

He also had to wake up early to train before class and then after a full day, return to the gym.

“It forces you to organize your time properly,” he says. “It also exhausts you.”

Winchester also had to deal with the financial woes of being a student and an athlete.

“I’ve spent over $80,000 and I’m not really making any money,” he says. “You get by. You learn to live like the most broke student ever.”

For now, Winchester and Storey train two or three times a day, six days a week. Winchester says if he doesn’t make the team, the training won’t be a waste of his time.

“I’m enjoying the atmosphere,” he says. “I’m just happy being part of the group.”

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