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Sprinter Gavin Smellie on track for Pan Am Games

Sprinter Gavin Smellie on track for Pan Am Games

Posted by Juan Gavasa on March 16, 2015

When Gavin Smellie transferred from George Harvey Collegiate Institute to Dante Aligheri Academy, he wanted to continue playing soccer for his new high school.

“That’s a funny story,” said Smellie, recalling what happened next was essentially how he got into track and field.

After transferring to the Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue area high school, Smellie learned it was too late in the season for him to join the soccer team.

So he decided to stay active by playing other sports.

“I was a terrible basketball player,” Smellie laughed, adding he was better in volleyball and badminton.

But what he excelled in was track and field.

“I did a race off with some kid,” said Smellie, who gave his opponent a significant head start but still managed to beat him.

Then he tested his speed against other runners at the Toronto District College Athletic Association championships.

“I almost missed the race because my coach was late that day,” said Smellie, wondering if it wasn’t meant to be. “Maybe it was just fate. Maybe I should really go home.”

Fate had other plans; his coach arrived just in time with his bib number.

Smellie went on to qualify for the metro championships and continued his success, competing as a sprinter in the Canadian Junior Nationals, the Pan American Junior Championships, the World Championships and the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“These guys are at another level and that made me more hungry,” Smellie said of his fellow international competitors as he prepares for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Now to run on “home turf” in front of family and friends will be a special moment for the 28-year-old who also has his sights on the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

“This is a great thing for me and Toronto,” said Smellie, adding Toronto fans in general support their teams and country. “I know they take pride when you go out there and compete. They’ll be behind you 100 per cent. It’s an awesome feeling.”

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