This is Rosanna Crawford’s time.
She’s got the talent. She’s got the motivation. She’s got the confidence.
At 29, she’s at the perfect age to peak in her sport. She has a coach and team that believes in her.
“I’m going to go and do my best. I have a results goal, and an outcome goal. I’d like it to be at the Olympics,” Crawford said.
Crawford gave the team a tremendous shot in the arm with a bronze medal in Ruhpolding, Germany, where she shot clean in the 15 kilometre individual race. She shot clean again in the relay, and again in the 12.5 km mass start, finishing fourth. Hitting 50 targets in a row, she’s on the best shooting string of her life.
Crawford is only the third Canadian biathlete to have ever won a solo world cup medal. It took her 10 years on the world cup circuit to accomplish the feat.
“It’s an individual podium, but such a team effort to get there. My teammates have been pushing me, and inspiring me with their personal best races. Also, Brendan (Green) has been my rock. Without him, I wouldn’t be here at all,” Crawford said.
“The girls all gave me a big hug at the finish line. (High performance director) Roddy Ward said he knew I could do it. I’ve been so motivated by these women. They’ve all had personal bests on the world cup this season, and I get one too.”
Growing up in Canmore, her parents ensured she had every opportunity to experience the wild. She was a member of the track and field team, the Cohos swim club and Canmore Nordic Ski Club. As she grew older, she had to choose between biathlon or swimming.
“It was hard not to be outside all the time. Every weekend we would ski or hike,” Crawford said.
Her third Olympic Games will be her first without her family. Sister Chandra is four years into retirement, and her parents decided to meet her in Europe over Christmas. Her brother Jordan died last spring in Calgary. Jordan was his sister’s biggest fan, and would often dress up her dog Moki in colourful costumes, take photos of the tableau and send them to her in order to cheer her up.
“I definitely have good days and bad days. I think about Jordan every day. He was a huge cheerleader and I will be very sad not to have Moki pictures. It’s been incredibly hard. Thankfully, we’ve been able to come together as a family and be closer than ever,” Crawford said.
She will still share the Games with her fiance Brendan Green, and drink cups of Bengal spice tea to remind her of home.
Last season, Crawford entered the year in the best shape of her life, but saw her performance crash. This year, with so much controversy and adversity swirling around the team, she won a medal.
“There were a few indicators I was overtrained. That was a big part. I think with the New Zealand camp and Park City camp, we maybe overdid it. Both Brendan and I were sick, and we trained a little more,” Crawford said.
“We definitely pulled back a lot more this year, especially taking the toll of the emotional stress.”
She’s handled stress with an increased emphasis on meditation, which is something she first learned from her mother. She honed those skills with sports psychologists, which has helped to keep her focused.
There’s another man she turns to for relaxation every year: Harry Potter.
“I love re-reading the books and re-watching the movies. I pick up stuff every time I didn’t notice. It deals with so many issues, and I think about how I can apply them to be a better person,” Crawford said.
It’s a series that connects her to her younger teammates, who see her as team mom. Many of them grew up in the sport looking up to her (Sarah Beaudry once dressed up as Crawford for Halloween).
“I definitely love that role. We can learn so much from each other. I don’t want the sport to disappear, so we try to fuel the passion of everyone in it,” Crawford said.
The team leader is one of the fiercest competitors Canada has ever produced. Her coaches marvel at her drive to be the best, and her ability to achieve goals. On the range, she’s learned to be perfect. On the team, she’s learned to be a leader. Away from the sport, she still simply wants to be a sister.
“This is something I am doing for Jordan. I really wish he could celebrate this with me.”