Kelleigh Ryan

Name: Kelleigh Ryan
CAN Fund Recipient Since: 2015
Sport: Fencing
Best Result:
2nd at the 2014 Pan American Championships
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Nickname: Smelleigh
Horoscope Sign: Capricorn
On The National Team Since: 2008

How does being a CAN Fund Recipient make a difference for you?
CAN Fund helps me pay for my strength and conditioning as well as my physical therapy. Living in the USA, healthcare and extra support systems are very different so I’ve had to pay for my training. While this is excellent training, it is also rather expensive. CAN Fund helps me pay for that so that I can put the rest of my funding and finances towards travel, equipment and training.

When was the moment you knew you wanted to represent Canada?
I knew I wanted to represent Canada after watching the Women’s World Cup in the USA. I had been playing competitive soccer for a few years at that time and the games really inspired me to become a female athlete for Canada. At the time, I was more focused on soccer but as I got more into fencing I changed my goal to competing for Canada as a fencer!

How did you get involved in your sport?
My parents always encouraged me to have a sport for every season. I skied in the winter, played soccer in the summer and did karate throughout the school year. I found myself not enjoying karate very much but in order to quit I had to replace it with something else. I think fencing was on TV for the 1996 Olympics and I chose that after seeing it for the first time. I can’t remember if I enjoyed it in the beginning but I do remember it started to appeal more and more as I got better and started beating some of the boys in my class.

What does sport mean to you?
Sports, athletics and being an athlete…all are a huge part of who I am. I love being active and I love competing! I really can’t imagine a life without these things. I’m very thankful for my parents who encouraged me to play sports as this has instilled in me an identity as a strong woman, given me goals and things to be proud of and taught me to value the importance of an active lifestyle. When I’m finished competing I know that I really want to give back to my sport, to children starting out in sports and to young athletes because I would love to pass on the values of hard work, determination and active living that sport has instilled in me.

What is your pre-game meal?
Oatmeal, whey and fruit

What is in your refrigerator right now?
Cottage cheese, eggs, spinach, tomatoes, onions, coleslaw, apples, sweet potatoes, chicken, tilapia and milk.

What are your words to live by or your motto?
“One Hit” or “Always Compete”
Sometimes in stressful moments I sort of sing to myself “Fencing is fun, I like fencing” It’s weird but somehow it relaxes me.

What advice would you give to young kids or teenagers about following their dreams?
Some days feel impossibly hard or that you always get dealt a bad hand. Accept that everyone gets a bit of both good and bad luck and deal with what’s in front of you.

If you weren’t a Canadian athlete you would be?
Working for an NGO, trying to save the world!

What is your favourite thing about being on the road with your teammates?
I’m an only child so traveling with my teammates has taught me a lot about living with other people. We have good days and we have bad days and to add to that we have to compete with each other. At the end of the day, we really care about each other and we really have a good time together!

What are you favourite places in the world you have visited?
I’m not sure if they’re my favourite places but I absolutely loved my trips to El Salvador and to Japan. Both trips were led by locals to special places. I don’t think there’s anything that can replace having a local’s insight. The Japanese team was particularly amazing and took us to markets, to Sumo wrestling and to Karaoke!

What is your favourite quote?
“I’ve failed over and over and that is why I succeed” Michael Jordan

What is your favourite movie?
The Green Mile

What is your favourite book?
The Poisonwood Bible

What is your favourite tv series?

Twitter: @KelleighRyan
Facebook Fan Page:
Instagram: @smelleighk