From the pitch to pedals: Kelsey Mitchell's journey from soccer to record-breaking cyclist
For Sherwood Park's Kelsey Mitchell, the transition from patrolling the pitch to powering pedals has been a record-smashing success.
Last week, Mitchell captured gold and broke a world record in the women's sprint at the Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Bolivia, finishing in 10.154 seconds, narrowly beating the previous mark of 10.384.
"People keep messaging me or texting me saying ' you know you hold a world record right?' And, I'm like 'yeah.' Every time it's crazy to hear."
The 25-year-old came to the sport only two years ago after playing five seasons of soccer for NAIT. In 2017, Cycling Canada recruited her after she took part in an Olympic talent identification program.
"I think I'm an athlete so I've always picked up things pretty quickly," she said.
Since then, she's captured the Canadian sprint title in 2018 as well as a gold medal in sprint and silver medal in team sprint at last month's Pan American Games.
"I came in and I was the worst one on the national team," she said. "I have that mind-set where I'm at the bottom and I need to get to the top and so I'm just going to keep working."
While the world record is a career achievement in its own right, Mitchell hopes it propels her to more records at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"There's just like so many little things to it that I had to learn, and I'm still learning."
With files from Adam Cook