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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Sports Highlights Torchbearer Alicia Piazza: Rowing her way through a Myriad of Waters

Team Ontario Mission Team
Torchbearer Alicia Piazza Rowing her way through a Myriad of Waters

Five eggs, Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Apple Sauce, Bagels and Chocolate Milk, and all that's before lunch! That kind of a hearty meal is routine for young Canadian Alicia Piazza, who wakes up at 4:15 a.m. every morning to practice, putting in as many carbs as she can into her morning meals as she prepares for the physical demands of being a high performance rower. Looking forward to participating in the 2017 Canada Games, Alicia took out some precious time from her rather fervent schedule to shed some light on what inspired her to take up rowing and how challenging the experience has been for her.

"As a child I was always the energetic one. I wanted to try every sport and be on every sports team at school. At the open house for my high school, I signed my name on the sign-up sheet for every sport there was to offer. The rowing booth had an ergometer (a rowing machine) which I got to try out. The coach told me the level of commitment and work required for the sport and it sounded more challenging than any of the other sports at the high school. That's when I knew rowing was for me," she shared.

"I started training with the older girls, and to my disappointment there was only one other grade nine girl who didn't quit after the first week of workouts. She had prior rowing experience and was much bigger and stronger than me. My first year of rowing in high school I was told I was only big enough to be a coxswain, and that would be the most suitable position for me in the boat. I quit that year because all my heart desired was to be a rower. I told my Italian family they had to start giving me bigger portions of pasta so I could make the rowing team the following year, and I did!" Alicia added.

Her inspiration has been her Nono (grandfather), and whenever she faces a challenge in life, Alicia thinks back on the life her grandfather built since coming to Canada and draws instant inspiration.

She said, "My Nono moved to Canada with his two children after his wife passed away in child labour and built a life for them from nothing. He was the hardest working, most stubborn person I had ever met in my life. I spent every day with him growing up and I wanted to be just like him. He got very sick when I was in high school and had to be in the hospital quite a bit. He lost circulation to both of his legs and had to get them amputated one shortly after the other. My Nono could never walk again yet he still remained himself. He did not let the challenges he had to face in life bring his spirits down, he still had his sense of humour and he didn't lose his outgoing personality, despite the fact that he could not walk. He taught me that you can build yourself up from the bottom if you work hard enough. He taught me to never give up and to always make the best of any situation that life throws at you."

Talking about her passion, Alicia added, "The sport speaks to me in a way I cannot describe. If I am having an off day and I am tired I think about all of my accomplishments, all of the hard work behind me and to never give up. All it takes is a deep breath, and close my eyes for a second and imagine myself rowing a perfect stroke. After that I am back in it."

Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2017 11:34:30 AM EST

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