Cody Sorensen. File photo
By Jamie Shinkewski
February 2014: Ottawa native Cody Sorensen was tearing down the Sochi bobsled track, on pace to move into contention for an Olympic medal. A moment later, a miscue in turn 14 sent the Canada-3 sled tumbling on its side, bashing down the course across the finish line.
Sorensen walked away from the wreck with a last-place finish, and a minor concussion.
It's not the memory he wants to keep as his final trip in a bobsleigh, but it will have to linger at least one more year since Sorensen has decided that he won't be competing this season.
The reason for the break isn't related to his Sochi experience, but rather a desire to put some time into establishing a career path for the future while the next Games remain three-and-a-half years away.
“I’m trying to prepare for life after sport,” Sorensen explains. “It’s something that always stressed me, thinking of what I might do and how my skills might translate into a job later on.”
Being a Canadian bobsledder isn't a lucrative profession – especially without an Olympics on the horizon – so Sorensen also views the break as an opportunity to set himself up a bit better financially come the later years of the Olympic cycle.
The University of Guelph economics and finance grad is currently working as an RBC Olympian, making numerous public appearances while also spending time in a job shadow role at the bank. Sorensen says the job has given him the chance to explore his second passion – business – without leaving sport far behind.
He's definitely noticed some differences between office life and the sport world. He does not spend his days in resort towns like St. Moritz, Switzerland, the birthplace of bobsleigh. Nor does he spend his nights brushing shoulders with the rich and famous, like the Prince of Monaco.
With less of a focus on his workouts and directing all his energy towards being a high-performance athlete these days, there's also a little less muscle mass and a bit more fat on Sorensen's frame, he details.
“Even just my nutrition was a part time job before," adds the Glebe Collegiate Institute grad. "A lot of the things you don’t realize until you see it from a different angle. I appreciate that (athletic) lifestyle more.”
Sorensen believes it will take at least a year to bring his physical conditioning back to peak form, but that the experience from taking time away from sport will ultimately make him a better athlete and person. The break certainly hasn't quelled his desire to return.
“Sport was always my biggest passion growing up. I loved to compete, I loved the training, I loved the camaraderie,” highlights the former All-Canadian hurdler whose father was an Olympic wrestler. “Maybe when you’re younger you don’t call it passion, you don’t realize what it is, but now that I’m older and can appreciate it, it’s what I love to do the most.”
The tipped sled in Sochi wasn't the ending Sorensen sought after years of dedication, but he's come to realize it's the journey in sport that he enjoys most deeply, and he wants that to continue to the start line in PyeongChang come 2018.
“I’d rather crash 100 times in a bobsleigh than lead a mediocre life,” underlines the 28-year-old. “If I can work hard and make it to the Games for a second time, that would be an amazing accomplishment."