High-jumper Alyx Treasure is making plans for Rio.
While winning the Ward Haylett Invitational meet Saturday at her home track at Manhattan, Kan., the 23-year-old Prince George Track and Field Club member cleared the bar at 1.93 metres (six-foot-four), the Olympic standard for women.
Treasure is now qualified to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this August.
"It was a good day, it was pretty smooth-sailing all the way through," said Treasure, who was fighting off the effects of a head cold. "I've been noticing that the worse I feel before a meet, the better I do."
Competing in the open category at the Haylett meet, having used up her college eligibility, Treasure jumped clear at 1.79 m, 1.84 m and 1.89 m and made her second attempt at 1.93 m. She had never before cleared the bar at that height, even in practice. She knew she had only a narrow window of opportunity, with a July 11 deadline for Olympic qualifying rapidly approaching.
"It was so surreal when it happened," said Treasure, a marketing/entrepreneur major at Kansas Sate University in Manhattan.
"My indoor season started early because I wanted to give myself as many chances as I could. It is hard to find (outdoor) meets in the NCAA season in May, there aren't many meets that get put on here. I knew I wouldn't have many opportunities, even though it's two months before (the Canadian Olympic) trials, so I was definitely feeling the pressure.
"It helped that I know the track and the pit, which took a lot of thinking out of the jump."
Treasure, who started high jumping when she was nine, is the only female Canadian qualified for the Olympic high jump and she becomes the first Prince George Track and Field Club athlete to make the Olympic grade.
"I'm delighted for Alyx," said Tom Masich, who coached her for five years at the PGTFC. "If she does qualify at 1.93 or higher and can duplicate that in the early rounds in Rio, it should put her in the top 12 for the finals."
Treasure took three attempts at 1.96 m in Kansas and was close on all three.
Had she not achieved the 1.93 m standard on Saturday she would have had just one more meet, the Harry Jerome International Track Classic in Burnaby, June 17, to try to qualify before the trials in Edmonton, July 7-10. She requires a top-three finish at trials to officially punch her ticket to Rio.
"I'm not sure if it's the top three who have the Olympic standard will go, maybe one other girl will have that, so basically I'm good," she said. "Once you have standard in Canada, especially in the field events, you've kind of signed your ticket."
"Because I was jumping at the level I was (beyond 1.80 m) I could only get into a certain amount of meets because of that, but now that I've made standard it opens up a whole other realm of meets and now I have options for a bunch of other meets," said Treasure, who is looking forward to finding consistency while competing the next few months against top-ranked international high-jumpers.
"It's a whole new ball game. Honestly, it hasn't set in yet (that she's qualified for the Olympics), give me a couple weeks to wrap my head around it. Once the work sets in and I have to get competitive at that higher level it will be a lot different for me. Hopefully I'll be able to make a living at this sport."
Sponsored by Body First, Treasure is in the process of trying to find an agent, which will help determine where she will compete next. She's now eligible for Canadian Olympic team funding.
"It's perfect timing because I'm just finishing school and I graduate next week (on Saturday, the day she celebrates her 24th birthday)," she said.
Treasure said she's no longer with her steady boyfriend, who played for the Kansas State football team, and she's enjoying her single status.
"That's why I'm doing so well," she laughed. "I'm married to track instead."