St. Mary’s track athlete says cancelled games were tough mentally

This story is part of a series on the impact of COVID-19 on New Brunswick athletes

Madison Wilson was supposed to go to the North American Indigenous Games this summer, but instead she has been trying to pull herself out of a funk. 

The games, which were scheduled for July in Halifax, were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was definitely a very sad day for me,” said Wilson, from St. Mary’s First Nation. 

“I had been training all year so I was so ready to go and compete. I wasn’t nervous. I was putting in all the work I needed to go.”

Wilson would’ve competed in long jump, triple jump, the 100 metre race, and likely a relay. She’s been competing and training in track and field since she was seven, but restrictions from the pandemic left her without the motivation to put in the work. 

“It was really hard. I cried a lot. It was something that I really, really struggled with,” said Wilson. 

She said during the month of lockdown, she struggled to motivate herself to get exercise or do any sort of training.

“I didn’t do anything more than just sit here and sulk. I was very upset,” said Wilson. 

Lately she’s been trying to work out from home, and working out with her boyfriend. But she finds it difficult to be active on her own. 

Indigenous Games experience

Wilson hopes the Indigenous Games will be rescheduled. (Submitted by Cathy Ward)

Wilson’s first trip to the games, when she was 13, brought her three medals. She won gold, silver, and bronze against some of the best Indigenous athletes from across North America.

But for Wilson, the experience was about more than just the medals. 

“I had so much fun. I met so many different people. I even became closer with other people from  New Brunswick,” said Wilson. 

“It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Wilson hopes that the games can be rescheduled, but not just for her. 125 athletes from New Brunswick were supposed to go the the games in July, along with support staff and coaches. 

“We all deserve a chance to go and show what we’ve worked for,” said Wilson. 

“Especially for the older girls and guys who would’ve been 19. This would’ve been their last year to compete. I think they should still be able to go back and have that one last chance.”

There has been no decision on whether the event will be rescheduled, but the North American Indigenous Games Council will be meeting during the week to discuss it.