|STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR|
|David Ford is up the creek at the Beijing Olympics.|
It’s not like the veteran whitewater kayker is experiencing much nostalgia. It’s a course that really isn’t suited to his strengths, but he manages to always be fast on it.
At 42, the Edmonton native continues to show he can be a factor at the top level, finishing eighth in the World Cup standings this season after an eighth at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
He hasn’t ruled out the possibility he might try to compete at the 2012 London Olympics at age 45.
“At the start of this year, I would have said ‘No,’” said Ford. “I would have said probably this year and maybe next year and then that would be it. But I’ve had some glimmers of being maybe able to raise my game to the point where it’s worth sticking around for another Games.
“I don’t want to go to London as a participant. I want to go with a shot still of being on the podium. With it being a limited field, I think as long as I’m not physically hurting in some way there’s a chance – a very good chance – of getting a medal. As long as that’s still on the table, I will always consider that as an option.”
Ford got married this spring to downhiller racer Kelly VanderBeek of Kitchener, who’s immersed in her preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The two have had to postpone honeymoon plans for now, but managed to spend a lot of time together this summer and give their webcams a good workout.
“As long as she’s doing her thing, I might as well keep doing mine,” said Ford. “I think really the only thing that would make me stop for sure if we were able to have a child or something.”
Funding continues to be an issue for Ford, who gets $18,000 a year in carding but little extra money to help with expenses. The team pays for half of his accomodation for four races, which amounts to $1,200. He’s on hook for everything else -- coaching, flights, rental cars, travel, physio, equipment. That costs more than $60,000 and he’s fortunate to have some help from sponsors.
While he’s had a decent season, he believes there’s more in the tank.
“I haven’t hit the peak for the season it doesn’t feel like. It’s sort of like I have a potential that I’ve having trouble getting through the door. I’ve seen glimpses of it and I feel really good on the river here. Maybe this will be my week.”