Historic Gold At the first event of the 2015 FIVB World Tour in Fuzhou, my partner and I made history by capturing the first-ever medal for Canada in Women’s Beach Volleyball, and it was Gold! Our 7-0 record was no easy feat, coming in as the 13th seed out of 32 teams in the Main Draw. To reach the top step of the podium we had to knock off the number 4, 11, 6, 2 and 3 seeded teams in the tournament. There are so many factors that contributed to this achievement, and it was many years in the making, but here were a few differences that I believe played a major role. The Power of Positive Thinking Being involved in high performance sport most of my life, I have always known the importance of mental strength in order to focus and edge out your competitors in pressure situations. But it wasn’t until we were in China when I truly experienced the power of positive thinking and the truth of the saying “mind over matter”. From the beginning of our time in China, Kristina and I made a commitment to positive thinking and conversations in all that we did. This may sound simple, but trust me, it is no easy task – especially when you are traveling in a foreign country and culture as different as China! This started with our mornings at the breakfast buffet, where it was all too easy to comment on the different foods, lack of good coffee, or hard beds the night before, etc. We stayed committed to positivity and reminded each other anytime we may have been slipping up and heading to negative town. After all, how lucky were we to be traveling the world and competing internationally for Canada! We were exactly where we wanted to be in that moment. This kind of mentality carried over into our practices leading up to competition where we made an effort to expect the best and keep positive thoughts even in frustrating situations. We weren’t playing perfect volleyball by any means, but the way in which we were recovering after errors or in between rallies is what made the difference. This was very clear when competition started and we were pushed to the limit with many matches going to a third set. Our calm, controlled demeanor with grit and determination in the final points is what allowed us to create the consistency of a champion. This win is an amazing start of the Olympic Qualification period for us, but it is only the beginning and there is much work to be done. We will use this experience and all that we learned for the season ahead, knowing that we have what it takes!