Darla Deschamps Makes Her Mark on Skeleton Tour

For a rookie, Darla Deschamps is making skeleton look easy.

After spending the first half of the season dominating the International Cup circuit, Deschamps has put down solid to spectacular results at every race in her first World Cup season and she was rewarded with her first World Cup medal – bronze in Italy on February 4.

“I felt proud to be representing Canada on the podium,” Deschamps told Olympic.ca. “It just felt awesome to achieve that goal.”

So, how do you celebrate achieving a personal and professional goal?

“We had a very nice team dinner, but we didn’t go out or anything,” Deschamps said. “Actually, we went back to the room and watched a movie. We were just exhausted!”

Deschamps’s journey to that World Cup podium in Italy started when skeleton was re-introduced to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. “I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie,” she said. “I’ve done bungee jumping, skydiving, I’ve swam with sharks.”

A chance encounter with the Mexican bobsleigh team five years ago while she waited tables in Calgary sealed her fate: she would have to try this sport. “I thought: ‘This is in my back yard.’ So I went to pilot school. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. I actually don’t remember anything about the ride, just that at the end I had a big smile on my face!” she said.

Five years later, Deschamps has steadily climbed the ranks of the national and international skeleton scene – and has landed her first World Cup medal as a rookie.

“The best part is getting to live the dream, the passion!” she said. “Being able to fight for these goals and to achieve them, I’m super lucky.”

Now that she’s on the Canadian national team travelling the World Cup circuit, it allows her to spend more time on the road with her fiancé, Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery. They will be getting married this summer.

“Jon has been a huge inspiration,” she said. “It helps to have a partner to share the ups and downs, to support each other. It’s such a huge factor in what we do. We have the same goals and we know what goes into achieving those goals.”

Deschamps’s goals are the absolute highest. She wants to win a World Championship (she competes at her first one February 25th), a World Cup overall title and an Olympic gold medal in Sochi.

Nine years ago, she had never seen a skeleton race. Five years ago, she had never been on a track.