Pam has had a relatively short career for an athlete competing at such a high echelon of sport. Though she’s only been on the track and field scene for three years, she’s been on the Canadian Senior National Team for 95% of it and counting. After training first in swimming, then in wheelchair basketball, old injuries persisted, forcing her again to switch sports, landing her in track and field.
Her strength coach for basketball noticed her long wingspan and suggested they take an indoor discus into the gymnasium and give it a hook to see how it felt. He coached her a bit, being involved in track and field himself and after a few minutes, her first throw was National qualifying distance. She dropped basketball with a heavy heart and started throwing with a new coach and new training plan.
Within two months, Pam was at her first international competition in Arizona, placing silver in discus. A month after that, Canadian Nationals saw two gold medal performances from the rookie. Two weeks later, Pam represented Nova Scotia at the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She battled new competition and came out with a gold & silver medal. Then something unexpected happened.
Pam was at a small competition in Ontario; in a stuffy dorm room at Carlton University when her coach gave her the news that she’d made the Senior National Team and would be going to Lyon, France three weeks later to represent Canada for World Track & Field Championships. That changed it all. She went, competed, and won a bronze medal for Canada. She ate goat for the first time. It was a big deal. That August, 2013 paved her career. She’s been selected for every Team Canada since and she also received SportChek’s Athlete of the month that August.
The field season normally runs from April to August. In between there is a massive amount of indoor training that goes on, including warm-weather training camps. The small team Pam trains with is based in Halifax and Wolfville, hopping between eight times per week for training sessions. The warm-weather camps have been based in Clermont and Daytona Beach, Florida, Warm Springs, Georgia and San Diego, California. They will attend a camp for 2 weeks, spread twice per indoor season usually.
Since August, 2013, the time has flown for Pam. Training hard and travelling pretty frequently for camp and competition has made life feel life a whirlwind.
A few highlights of her career have been achieving double gold medals three years running at the Canadian National Track & Field Championships, winning combinations of gold & silver in Notwil, Switzerland in 2014 & 2015, triple silver in Dubai, UAE last February 2015, gold & bronze hardware at the ParaPan Am Games in Toronto this past summer and a silver medal a few weeks ago at the World Track & Field Championships in Doha, Qatar, besting her performance by one spot at the previous World Champs, her first in France.
Family is a main priority for her. Missing birthdays and holidays has been the biggest sacrifice so far, but the end goal, the Paralympics in Rio this coming September has been kept in her sights. Her family has been her biggest support system and she will be forever grateful.
Pam is the Athlete Representative on the Board of Directors of Athletics Nova Scotia. She received Athlete of the Month for October for Athletics Nova Scotia. She hopes to help others in any way that she can. She does this right now by talking to elementary schools with her coach as the Ambassador of the Run, Jump, Throw, Wheel Program which encourages kids to be active and helps them be physically literate. Pam is also an ambassador for the 60 Minute Kids Club and KidSport who both encourage physical activity and physical literacy in youth.