McIvor channelling London energy

Ashleigh McIvor feels the Canadian love, no matter what season. And after a London 2012 Games that saw Canadian support shine far and wide, the 2010 Olympic gold medallist in Ski Cross says that love is spreading.

“It was so different being in London than it was being at home for the Winter Olympics,” said McIvor who was selected to go to the London by the High Commissioner of Canada, Gordon Campbell, to represent the department of foreign affairs and international trade at the London 2012 Games.

“It was very cool for me to be there in a no pressure situation and be able to take it all in and enjoy it and feed off the excitement of the other athletes.”

While in London, McIvor was able to shine a light on Canada’s competitive excellence to guests of Canada House while being able to enjoy the Olympic Games as a spectator for the first time.

For McIvor, one of the biggest lessons she learned in London was how to perceive the pressure that is placed on all athletes.

“I think the biggest thing I learned there was as an athlete you feel like there’s all sorts of pressure on you and you feel like all eyes are on you and you’re going out there to compete, but the reality is that all eyes are on the Canadians,” she said.

The experience was also a great opportunity to channel some of the encouragement her fellow Canadian Olympians were receiving from all their supporters back home, said McIvor.

This is something that the well spoken athlete won’t soon forget as she continues her comeback from a knee injury sustained in January of 2012. McIvor required ACL surgery at the time, but is now in full preparation mode for the upcoming 2012-2013 season and ready to test herself in competition.

But with Sochi more than a year away, McIvor has her eyes set on the present.

“My whole life I sort of take one step at a time, one day at a time, one ski camp at a time and one event at a time in the season,” said McIvor.

“At the moment I’m just focusing on getting my knee back in order. That’s the number one priority and we’ll go from there.”

At the moment, McIvor will also have to set aside some time in her busy schedule to plan a wedding after long-time boyfriend, Major League Soccer star and Vancouver Whitecaps captain, Jay DeMerit proposed to her earlier this month.

Although no wedding date has been set in place, the newly engaged McIvor is thrilled about the thought of spending the rest of her life with the Wisconsin native.

“I can’t even believe it,” said McIvor, who was in Toronto to promoting ski tourism in her home province BC.

“It was a total surprise. I was totally shocked. I feel like this is all a dream. I’m having trouble even comprehending this is real,” said McIvor.

“I can’t believe a guy that cool wants to marry me.”

McIvor said having a professional soccer player for a fiancée works out well, as she has someone who can relate to the rigors of elite training and travel. More importantly, though, she knows that no matter what she will always have a supporter when she goes home.

“He’s my number one fan.”

The Ski Cross World Cup season kicks off at home in Canada Dec. 6 at Nakiska Mountain Resort, Alberta.