Watching hurdles final at Beijing Olympics huge motivator for Felicien

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - Perdita Felicien's heart may have been down on the track during the 100-metre hurdles final at the Beijing Olympics, but the rest of her was stuck in a broadcast booth, sidelined by a foot injury.
That agonizing moment, she said, has been the single biggest motivator in her comeback.
Felicien was working for CBC at the Olympics after a stress fracture in her foot forced her to call it a season. After watching Canadian teammate Priscilla Lopes-Schliep race to a bronze medal in the final, Felicien met up with a friend in the concourse of the Bird's Nest stadium.
"My girlfriend said, `Did you see that?' I said `Yes, I saw that" Then I said, why am I here? Why am I not able to compete and to run?'
"I was just ready to go out and just do it, and it was probably the best motivation that I could have had, to be there watching a race that I felt I could have been at.
"I couldn't guarantee that I was going to get a medal if I was there, but it was probably the best thing that happened to me was to see those eight women compete in a race that I thought on any given day I could have been there."
Felicien now has her sights set on the world championships this summer in Berlin, and the 2010 Olympics in London. The hurdler from Pickering, Ont., will also battle Lopes-Schliep in the Festival of Excellence on Thursday at the University of Toronto's revamped Varsity Stadium.
Two Canadian women hurdlers among the top in the world has the makings of an intense rivalry, but Felicien said she doesn't consider anyone her arch-rival.
"At this point in my career, I'm racing against myself," she said. "For me to be focused, I used to detest my competition. I always respected talent, but it used to be if I saw one of them, it was `Oh my gosh, I don't like you.'
"Now it's more like, I can respect you, and appreciate your gifts, but I can just focus on me and what I need to do."
Felicien, who was forced to sit out the entire outdoor season last year, ran 13.38 in her first meet back, well off her Canadian record of 12.45.
"I was fifth in that race, everyone was like, `Great!' I said `Are you crazy?' But I guess considering where I had been around that time before when I wasn't even walking, it was great," she said.
She has run a handful of meets since, and has shown steady improvement each time out. She was fourth in a tight race last weekend at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., running 12.78 seconds. Lopes-Schliep, who boasts the fastest time in the world this year of 12.52, was third in Oregon in 12.75.
"I'm consistent and every (race) I'm taking a tenth (of a second) off of my time, so I'm excited. . .12.7 shape is usually around where I am this time, and so we're OK with that," she said.
Felicien is thrilled to be racing at home in Toronto for the first time since high school. She's not sure what to expect from her mom Cathy Moe, however. Her mom used to yell and scream and get really nervous for her races when Felicien was growing up.
"It got to the point where I said, `You can't do that anymore, you can't," Felicien said laughing. "She came to the next meet and she didn't say anything, but she wore a T-shirt that said, `Go Perdita go. . . love mom.'
"She hasn't worn the T-shirt since because I haven't run in Canada, but she said she's going to come, `we're all going to wear matching T-shirts,' and the joke is, what is it going to say?"

Organizations: CBC, University of Toronto

Geographic location: TORONTO, Nest stadium, Berlin London Pickering Varsity Stadium Eugene, Ore. Oregon Canada

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