We are so excited to welcome Canadian-American sprinter Whitney Rowe to the Haute Volée and Oiselle family! Whitney has such an impressive drive and ethos of community service. We can't wait to cheer her on at the Dempsey meets at UW in January - hometown squad!
Get to know Whitney and her unique story...
Sarah Lesko: Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about your family and your trip to Damascus?
Whitney Rowe: I grew up in Burnaby, BC with my mom. My mom immigrated to Canada from Damascus, Syria when she was 17. When I was 14 we went back to visit that side of my family. If I could put the trip into two words they would be CULTURE SHOCK! At 14 it was very hard for me to understand and accept a new culture so different from what I was used to. Very little people spoke English and the heat! Oh the heat! It was HOT but women and girls are to be covered. No shorts and tank tops. I was wearing jeans and long sleeves in 100+ degree weather. This was very hard for me to understand. I remember the fruit like it was yesterday. Everything was so fresh and delicious. I lived off of fruit and boxed mac and cheese that we brought from home for three weeks (I’ve always been a very picky eater). Looking back I am fortunate to have experienced a different but beautiful culture and to be able to see where my mom grew up and what shaped her into the woman she is today.
SL: How did you discover running? Who was instrumental in your life with encouraging your running? When did you figure out you were "fast"?
WR: I remember in elementary school if you joined the track team you would get to go to an all-day track meet and miss the entire day of school. That was enticing enough for me. Growing up I was always told I was “fast” however I didn’t take the sport seriously until my sophomore year of high school. I come from a very athletic family so it was kind of expected that we all did a sport. I’ve always had such an amazing support system starting with my mom. She would easily be the most influential person in my life!
SL: Tell us about your speed camps for girls! What are your goals, what have you learned, what are your plans for the future?
WR: This summer I put on my first all-girls speed camp for middle school girls! It was such an amazing experience to be able to not only connect with the amazing athletes they are but to also be able to share my experiences and knowledge to help them get a little closer to their goals. If given the opportunity girls can achieve anything they set their minds to. My camp taught me new approaches to motivation; some girls just need a little nudge to get going. Sometimes if they have someone to take that first step with them that’s all they need! I would love to continue to host these speed camps and watch them grow!
SL: You're a dual Canadian/US citizen. In these crazy times, how has that shaped your worldview?
WR: I was born and raised in Canada and didn’t move to the US until I attended college. I am so fortunate to be able to have both citizenships but I hold on very tightly to my Canadian passport (although Canada is not problem free either). I admire all those who speak out on injustices that are very prevalent in the US today and stand (kneel) with them. It has allowed me to become more educated and forced me to do my own research and form my own viewpoint that I can confidently stand behind.
We look forward to seeing how Whitney continues to grow as an athlete and individual. Welcome to the team Whitney!