‘It’s been my goal forever,’ says elite local cyclist who is heading to the Olympics with her brother, Gunnar; Hardwood is hosting a watch party to cheer on the duo.

Orillia’s Isabella Holmgren is preparing to represent Canada in cross-country mountain biking at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris later this month.

Holmgren, 19, clinched her spot on Team Canada by topping the women’s podium at a recent World Cup race in Czechia. She was officially named to the team last week.

“I was super excited,” she said. “Gunnar, my brother, was also named to the team which added another level of excitement.”

Gunnar, 24, finished eighth in the men’s race at the recent World Cup race in Czechia.

“I don’t think it’s common for siblings to go to the Olympics together in the same year for the same sport,” Isabella said. “It’s definitely super cool.”

Isabella’s twin sister Ava is also an elite cyclist who fell just short of clinching the women’s Olympic spot.

“Ava is definitely a very big part of this,” Isabella said. “I wouldn’t be going into the Olympics if it wasn’t for all of her help and support. A lot of people don’t have a twin that they can train with every day and I’m super lucky to have that.”

Isabella Holmgren is a portrait of concentration during a recent World Cup events in France. Supplied Photo

Isabella, a ÉSC Nouvelle-Alliance graduate, began her competitive mountain biking career when she was nine. That’s when her dream of racing for Team Canada began.

“I think it’s the goal that everybody has,” she said. “It’s been my goal forever. It’s pretty cool that it’s happening sooner than I thought it would.”

Isabella, the Orillia Athlete of the Year in 2023, says she is looking forward to representing her community on the world’s biggest stage.

“I’m really excited to represent Oro-Medonte and Orillia at the Olympics,” she said. “They’ve been a big part of my journey to get here.”

Earlier this month, Isabella had the opportunity to pre-ride the Olympic track in France.

“It’s a super cool course with a lot of man-made features,” she said. “It’s not necessarily super different from the typical course, but it’s something new.”

While Isabella says winning a gold medal at the Olympics would be “pretty cool,” she doesn’t have a specific goal.

“I just want to go in and compete,” she said. “I just want to do the best I can do on the day.”

Earlier this month, Isabella finished first in the cross-country Olympic event at the U23 World Cup in Italy. She finished second in the short-track race.

“I was glad I was able to have a good performance on the day,” she said. “That gives me some confidence.”

Isabella credits her parents, siblings, the Ackert family and the community at Hardwood Ski and Bike for her success to date.

Hardwood is hosting an Olympic Watch Party where people are invited to cheer on the ‘home-grown’ mountain bike Olympians.

On Sunday, July 28, Hardwood’s watch party and breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. as Isabella goes for gold.

On Monday, July 29, also at 8 a.m., Hardwood invites people to cheer on Gunnar as he competes in the men’s cross-country event at the Paris Olympics.

Admission is free. However, unlimited pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs will be served with coffee and tea for $10 (pre-ordered) of for $15 if you pay at the door.

Original Article By: Tyler Evans
Site: Orillia Matters
Date: July 9, 2024
Link to Original: Link to Orillia Matters
Photo: Supplied Photos / Orillia Matters