Red Deer County athlete Kalena Soehn is working hard towards her Olympic goals.
Soehn was recently named as one of 55 young Canadian athletes from both summer and winter sports selected by Petro-Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee to receive Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) Program grant.
“It’s really awesome to know that I’m at a level that I can do that and be noticed for the sport I’m doing,” said the 18-year-old former Lindsay Thurber High School student.
The recent prestigious honour gives athletes and their coaches a $10,000 FACE grant to help them with their journey, half of that going to the athlete and the other half going to their coach. The grants are often used for training, equipment and travel expenses.
The FACE program supports up-and-coming athletes who strive to represent Canada at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but don’t yet qualify for government funding. The recipients are based on potential and funding is courtesy of Petro Canada.
Soehn competes in trampoline and double mini (trampoline).
“It’s where you run at it and you jump and you have two skills to do and then trampoline you have a 10-skill routine and that’s the difference between them,” she said.
Both of Soehn’s brothers, too, do trampoline, while her parents are the coaches and owners of Thunder Country Trampoline in Red Deer.
“I just basically grew up into it.”
Coached by her father, Soehn competes in synchro trampoline with her brother Keegan, a former Pan Am Games Gold medalist on the national team. Her other brother Kyle is also on the national team.
Her training schedule involves hours and hours of training three days a week.
All of this training goes towards her hopes of one day competing in the Olympics, the 2024 Paris Olympics to be exact, along with possibly the 2020 Games.
And so far in her career, Kalena has had some pretty good moments, including the 2015 World Age Group Championships.
“I placed fourth out of everybody in the world for the 15/16 age category.”
She added that attending Panama last year was also up there in her most memorable accomplishments. She was in Panama for a knowledge exchange for South America and got to be a representative of Canada, bringing the sport of trampoline there.
Kalena currently coaches kids ages four to 13 at her parent’s trampoline business.