Former Gee-Gee trains hard for a chance at an Olympic medal
Photo courtesy: Devin Biocchi
The Olympic road has been long and lonely for former Gee-Gee runner Devin Biocchi —but maybe not for much longer.
Before he even started university, Biocchi was chosen for Canada’s relay team at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics. He placed fifth that summer—not good enough for a medal, but enough to prove his worth on the international stage.
“Seeing my name on the Athletics Canada roster for that year was the best feeling an athlete could have as a junior,” says Biocchi. “It wasn’t the Olympics, but it was the first step towards it.”
He won his first two gold medals in collegiate competition while representing the Gee-Gees in 2012, when he won the 4×200-metre race with a record-setting time, and the 4×400-metre race at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) nationals. He only excelled from there. In 2013, he won those two races again and added a 300-metre win for good measure.
“I realized the gravity of winning a national championship,” he says. “I realized the glory that comes from it and the responsibility of demonstrating how I should respectfully win and be a role model.”
Now a Gee-Gee alum, set to graduate in the spring in psychology and philosophy, Biocchi now trains solo. He’s self-motivated every day to overcome hard workouts and bad races. His training is intense and requires every last bit of focus to perform at his highest level during practice.
“Running sprints can be very mind-numbing, as the constant intensity to run at the highest speed puts a damper on your nervous system,” he says. “Your body can be OK, but your nerves and mind can be drained completely, making it easier to lose focus and commit an error that would end up in injury.”
So, his training has become a 24-hour process. Every aspect of his life affects his energy and his physical fitness.
“The food I eat to the hours I work—staying up late often affects the next day’s workout,” he says. “This affects the rest of the week’s workout, almost as though it’s a domino effect.”
Biocchi is hopeful as he sets out on the road to the Olympics. He’s confident that in 2016 he’ll have a good chance at making the team. At the moment, he’s in the top 10 in the country, and hopes to soon crack the top two.
“I would like to make it to the Olympics and wear the rings on my chest beside the Canadian flag,” he says.“Just to be considered an Olympian for me would be the greatest accomplishment. Everything after that will be icing on the already very delicious cake.”