Personal Background

Name: Kelly Fitzsimmons
Date of Birth: April 28, 1985
Height: 5’6”
Hometown: Calgary, AB
City of birth: Calgary, AB
Residence: Toronto, ON
Language(s) spoken: English

Sport-related Background

National team member status: 2019/2020
Head Program coach: Darian Silk
Fencing coach: Marc-Andre Leblanc, Vango Fencing
Run coach: Ross Ristuccia, Monarch Athletics
Swim coach: Alisa Boulanger, ToroSwim
Shooting coach: Lynda Kiejko
Riding coach: Mark Hayes, Kestrel Farms
Strength & Conditioning: Kris Sheppard & Lindsay Scott, Runner’s Academy

Interview Questions

Why you love the sport of pentathlon?
I love pentathlon because I like the variety of challenges it presents, from endurance and speed to mental and tactical. It’s an incredible adventure and lifestyle.
When you got involved in pentathlon and why?
When I was in grade 10, I was swimming competitively with the Cascade swim club in Calgary. My coach Ken Fitzpatrick put me up for a mentorship program that paired young athletes with Olympians. My mentor was Olympic Volleyball player Barb Broen. Barb wanted to know what my sport goals were and I told her that I had heard about pentathlon in the Olympics. Since I already competed in swimming and horse jumping, I was keen to put the rest of the sports together. Barb got me involved with Pentathlon Alberta, and I participated in provincials and nationals that year. I loved the sport and the people and was thrilled to be a part. After time away from pentathlon for school, I returned to the sport after completing my university education in 2009. It felt great to be back, and i was hooked once again!
How often do you train (per week or month)?
About 20 hours a week between all sports, plus competitions. On top of working!
What are your hobbies?
More sports! Including golf, anything outside and on water. Painting and drawing. Reading, podcasts and organizing (seriously). Making and eating delicious food with friends.
Are there any other athletes in your family?
My grandfather Allen Fitzsimmons played baseball for the Canada at the World Seniors games into his 80s. His brother Jimmy was a hall of fame jockey who won the Queen’s Plate twice. My parents are western riders, who got me on horses from a young age. My dad, Terry, played junior football, hockey and semi pro baseball, and always encouraged my sporting pursuits. I also have two aunts who were both national team synchronized swimmers. All are very inspirational stories!
Education?
Bachelor of Commerce (University of Calgary). I transferred to U of C from a dual degree program in Engineering & Architecture (University of British Columbia).
What career would you like to pursue or are you currently pursuing?
Currently I work as a brand, market & product strategist with startups.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced?
Balancing my goals in sport while growing my career in an equally high performance field. It’s been a long term journey with many ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In 2012, I left my family and friends and moved from Calgary to Toronto to further both my pentathlon and professional careers. 2 weeks into my move, I was in the hospital with a nearly severed hip flexor after a horse accident. The recovery was physically and mentally challenging but I found a deeper appreciation for my personal journey in sport.
In the moments when I doubt that I want to continue, how do I motivate myself?
Doubt is an inevitable part of any challenging process, and you have to trust your gut. Start small. Take some deep breaths and re-centre your perspective. Have an open mind and heart on what your feeling, and find a small spark that gets you excited or makes you smile. Sometimes that means approaching your process in a new way, or taking a new direction and doing something completely different.
How has being an athlete benefited you (positive effects in your life that you would not have had otherwise)?
Sport has given me a life of adventure beyond anything I could imagine. Wonderful friends around the world, discipline, self expression, exploration, and so much adventure.
Favourite Movie?
Mary Poppins (the original!) and Good Will Hunting.

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