I had the privilege of speaking with Denzel Charles and Dylan Bibic, two aspiring athletes that will be competing in the 2016 Ontario Summer Games taking place August 11 to 14. Charles and Bibic are both young athletes that have trained and worked very hard to land a spot competing in the Ontario Summer Games. From our conversation, I was able to catch a glimpse into the training, inspiration, and motivation behind their work ethic and athletic journey.
For Denzel Charles, aspiring Taekwondo athlete, what got him started in the sport was his older brother, who he draws inspiration from to this day. “As we were growing up, I wasn’t really into sports. It was soccer and basketball but he was doing Taekwondo and it looked cool to me and it was natural for my parents to put me in it...I started to like it more and take it to a higher level.” Denzel has been involved in Taekwondo for 5 years now and 2 years competitively.
Competing in the Ontario Summer Games is a great honour, and after asking Denzel what it meant to him to be able to compete, I definitely caught his infectious enthusiasm and overall excited attitude. “It’s really cool. It’s really sick,” he says with a smile on his face. “It’s really big...like almost Olympic big to me. It’s cool. It’s a really nice experience and I can’t wait.”
On the topic of achievement and success, I asked Denzel what his biggest accomplishment has been thus far in his Taekwondo career. “Making it to Nationals and almost winning, taking second place,” he says. Similarly, Denzel also feels that an ultimate achievement would involve the Olympics: “To represent Canada in the Olympics...would be really cool.” On the opposite spectrum, Denzel also explained his greatest challenge regarding the sport: “To get better. Better myself always. That’s a challenge because it’s hard to find a lot of competitive people, and when I find that right competitive person, I could go as hard as I can.” He says that intimidation can also pose a little bit of a challenge for him. “It’s intimidating but then when I get in the ring and I start to fight them, I start to lose it because I’m like ‘oh wait I can beat them, it’s not that hard’, so it’s just intimidation.”
Denzel also walked me through what a typical day of training would consist of for him. “Training with my partners at my club and just doing a lot of bag work,” he says. “My friends, like my really close friends in the club, they help me, and they tell me what I’m doing wrong and fix it, so that impacts me a lot.” He agrees that having friends in the sport is also something on its own that is extremely helpful. “They’re older, they’ve been in it longer, so it’s cool because they’re professionals too,” he says happily.
Denzel feels something that differentiates him from other athletes is his personality. “I’m different than everybody else. No one’s as friendly as me and...no one’s like me. I’m one of a kind.” Being the young athlete that he is, Denzel offered a piece of advice to any other aspiring athletes and it’s to never give up! “Don’t give up. There’s no reason. You’ve already started, you shouldn’t give up. It would be a waste of time,” he says enthusiastically.
For aspiring road cyclist Dylan Bibic, what got him started in this sport was the bike rides he and his dad used to take by the river. “I liked biking so much and I got a road bike off of Kijiji and I competed in my first Youth Cup and I did well, so I kept on doing it. Now I’m getting on Podium and doing well,” he says. After competing and being involved athletically in road cycling for the past four years, Dylan says that one of his athletic inspirations is his coach. “My coach Steve Bauer, he’s a former Olympian and he competed in the Tour De France.”
Competing in the Ontario Summer Games definitely means a lot to Dylan as he further explained: “It’s a good chance to represent Mississauga and represent the sport and have fun a bike race,” he says. Having the opportunity to represent the sport and Mississauga, I also asked him what kind of training goes behind all of his current success. “I would go and train and do intervals, so sometimes 15 seconds hard and then 15 seconds easy and repeat that a few times. Or I might just go on a ride and go hard for a few hours.” Training for Dylan usually takes place in the country or at the Velodrome in Milton.
When on the topic of achievement and success, Dylan explained to me that his biggest accomplishment in terms of road cycling has been receiving all Gold in Provincial Track. When asked about an example of an ultimate achievement, Dylan explained, “Winning the Ontario Summer Games would be a pretty good one!”
Dylan feels that his overall work ethic is something that sets him apart from other athletes. He says, “Training smarter, eating healthier, and racing smart” are all essential contributors to his success. After talking to Dylan and hearing about all his success as a young athlete, I was curious to know of any advice he had for any other athletes. “Do your best and don’t cheat” is a piece of advice Dylan recommends for any other aspiring athletes to reflect and refer to on their athletic journey.
After interviewing both Denzel Charles and Dylan Bibic, I was able to get a glimpse into the kind of hard work and passion it takes to mold not only a talented athlete, but an inspiring athlete as well. It’s clear to see that Denzel and Dylan have achieved so much, so early, in what looks to be promising careers for the both of them. The Ontario Summer Games are not only an athletic competition, but an event that influences and inspires our young generation to know that hard work and dedication can bring about the most amazing opportunities and open gateways to further success.