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Kitchener's national boxing champ is raising funds for 2020 Olympics

Mandy Bujold has to pay out-of-pocket after choosing to not relocate to Montreal
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File photo of Mandy Bujold. Photo by Rob Massey for GuelphToday

Every Olympian faces roadblocks on their journey, and Kitchener's own Mandy Bujold has been no exception.

The longest reigning Canadian National Champion in the nation's history certainly has a lot to be proud of, including being the first female boxer in history to win two gold medals at the Pan American Games, 11 National titles and having represented Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Bujold then took another challenge: becoming a mother just a year ago.

It might surprise you to know, then, that she hasn't hung up her boxing gloves; it's quite the opposite.

With two qualifiers still standing in her way, Bujold is hoping to represent Canada a second time at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, where she has a bit of a bone to pick.

She finished fifth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio after a stomach virus left her hospitalized the night before her quarter-final match, leading her to make the difficult decision to bow out.

"I think, after that one, I was pretty frustrated with that whole situation," recalled Bujold. "I was close to walking away from the sport, but I still knew what I was capable of doing, and wasn't able to do it under those circumstances."

Being a mother, Bujold said she has a whole new mindset that motivates her.

"My life is different now," said Bujold, "I know that, now, every moment I spend away from Kate is precious time, so it really makes me focus on my training and give 100 per cent."

When Boxing Canada decided to centralize their operations, they required athletes to train in their Montreal facility to receive funding.

Bujold said that, in her mind, wasn't even an option.

"It's definitely a good program for some athletes, depending on the level they're at or if they have the resources, sparring partners and all that," explained Bujold. "For me, at this point in my career, my daughter is 1 year old today, I am very rooted here in Kitchener-Waterloo, I have a great group of people that helped me reach the Olympics in 2016. I know how to surround myself with the right people to get myself where I need to go. For me, that move didn't make any sense. For me to have the best shot, I'm with the team I need to be with right here in K-W."

That means she's paying out of her own pocket to compete in the games, something which is certainly not in the budget of most new mothers. 

She says it's a bit scary as she looks to raise around $60,000 to cover costs, but she's always been surprised by the immense support of the community.

Bujold is raising funds for training and competition expenses through several avenues, including an event at the Walper Hotel on Wednesday.

You can find tickets and details about the event here.

This will be the last jab that Bujold takes at the Olympic Games.

"I'm definitely going to be done with competing for sure," laughed Bujold. "I've actually just recently got into the RBC Olympians Program. It's a program that helps you prepare for life after sport, giving you career opportunities, so I'm working with a brand marketing team in town. It's really exciting, because it's a lot of the stuff I want to be doing: giving back to the community and being involved that way. I'm hoping to learn throughout this experience."


Ben Eppel

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