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Olympian Megan Oldham “blown away” by support she got from community

Now back on home soil after spending two weeks in Beijing for the Winter Olympics, Parry Sound’s Megan Oldham has had a little bit of time to collect herself.

“It was absolutely incredible,” she says of her first Olympics. “I had a blast.”

Oldham finished four-and-a-half points away from a bronze medal in the inaugural women’s freeski big air event. Later on, she came up just short of qualifying for the finals of the women’s freeski slopestyle event.

“I was definitely a little bit nervous,” she adds. However, Oldham says her skiing teammates Olivia Asselin and Elena Gaskell were also first-timers, so Oldham says they helped put each other at ease. “We shared the experience together,” she explains. “We all would talk about the things we were scared about, or looking forward to, and navigate it together.”

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Another person that she says she was happy to have along for the ride was Graham Ritchie, who is also from Parry Sound and competed in the cross country skiing events. “I’m so happy I was able to share that with him,” she says. The two grew up together. Ritchie was also competing in his first Olympics.

“It blew me away,” Oldham says of the support she got back home. She got messages and videos from people, not just from cottage country, but all over the world. “It really highlights our sport  and all the other winter sports. So it’s cool to see everybody come together and celebrate the level of progression in the sport in general,” she says.

Oldham adds that most of her time was spent with the Canadian athletes though she was able to sneak away from her Olympic village to see athletes from other countries and experience Beijing’s culture. “Our sport is so friendly and we spend a lot of time together at world cups, just doing activities outside of competing,” the 20-year-old says.

This weekend Oldham will travel to France for a world cup event, then to Switzerland the weekend after that. “It really doesn’t ever stop,” she says. Even when the snow starts to melt, she says she will be out training to ensure she’s ready for when winter begins again.

With little time to catch her breath, Oldham says she hasn’t even thought about the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy. She does say she hopes to qualify. “There’s just such a small window because of peak performance because it takes a lot of strength and also the sport involves a lot of injuries,” she says of her sport. Oldham adds that the sport is progressing at a “crazy rate” so it will likely be even tougher to get a spot on Team Canada in 2026 than it was in 2022.

“Hopefully both Graham and I will be there again, hopefully with some more Parry Sound athletes,” she says.

***With files from Mathew Reisler

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