Not done yet

Whyte makes sev­enth world ap­pear­ance, would love to com­pete un­til Tokyo

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY LORI EWING

Seven world cham­pi­onships af­ter she first made her de­but on the global stage, nerves can still get the bet­ter of An­gela Whyte.

But these days they’re dif­fer­ent.

The 37-year-old from Ed­mon­ton didn’t ad­vance to the 100me­tre hur­dles semi­fi­nals af­ter fin­ish­ing sixth in her heat at the world track and field cham­pi­onships Fri­day morn­ing. And in the mo­ments af­ter her dis­ap­point­ing run, the vet­eran hur­dler ad­mit­ted she’s con­cerned about a ca­reer she’s not ready to close the book on yet.

“It’s men­tal,’’ Whyte said. “Ever heard of the yips? Well, I’ve got a pretty se­ri­ous case of the yips.’’

Whyte was only 21 at her first worlds in 2001 in her home­town, and has made all but two world teams since. She’s also a three-time Olympian, fin­ish­ing sixth in 2004 in Athens, a re­sult over­shad­owed by Perdita Feli­cien’s fall in the fi­nal.

“Back then it was re­ally wel­come nerves, like ‘Oh my god I’m so ex­cited,’’ Whyte said. “Whereas now I’m try­ing to force my­self to be ex­cited be­cause I’m scared about all the things that could go wrong, or what’s go­ing to hap­pen with me as far as sup­port to con­tinue to keep train­ing. So I carry a lot of weight on me when I shouldn’t.’’

Whyte has a mas­ters de­gree in sports psy­chol­ogy, but is her own worst client.

“When you’re com­pet­ing, you can’t fo­cus on (the neg­a­tive). I know that,’’ she said. “I know all these things, but when it comes to your­self, it’s re­ally hard to psych your­self. And I’m not done. My body feels amaz­ing. My mind needs a lot of work, and we’ll get back to where I want to be.’’

And that’s part of the prob­lem. Whyte might be near­ing the fin­ish line of her ca­reer, but there are peo­ple who’d pre­fer she call it quits be­fore her race is done.

“Some­times ath­letes know when they need to bow out, their body just doesn’t quite feel right, or they don’t have the pas­sion for it any­more,’’ Whyte said. “But I think other times, ath­letes leave be­cause the sport pushes them out.

“There have been plenty of times where I feel like I’m be­ing pushed out, with the lit­tle com­ments, ‘Well how much longer are you go­ing to keep do­ing this?’ ‘Oh, you’re how old?’ Those are lit­tle sub­tle things that push peo­ple out be­cause it makes you feel like the sport doesn’t love you any­more.’’

Whyte grew up play­ing bas­ket­ball be­fore switch­ing to track. She was raised by her dad Evert in Ed­mon­ton, and has a tat­too of their fam­ily name - in her dad’s large scrawled print­ing - on the in­side of her left bi­ceps.

She’s been a world fi­nal­ist twice - sixth in 2013 and eighth in 2007 - and a fix­ture among Canada’s group of world-class hur­dlers that in­cluded Feli­cien, Priscilla Lopes-Sch­liep, Phyli­cia Ge­orge and Nikkita Holder.

The 29-year-old Ge­orge was fifth in her semi­fi­nal Fri­day night and so didn’t ad­vance to the fi­nal.

Whyte changed coaches this sea­son, leav­ing Moscow, Idaho, to work in Toronto with Jeff Hun­toon, whose ath­letes in­clude Olympic high jump cham­pion Derek Drouin.

“Hope­fully I’m still wel­come (in Toronto), and I can make that my home, be­cause I need sta­bil­ity. I don’t have that,’’ Whyte said. “I’ve been a hobo, with the stick and hand­ker­chief, walk­ing my stuff all across the coun­try. It’s not go­ing to work that way.’’

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/AP

Canada’s An­gela Whyte com­petes in a women’s 100-me­ter hur­dles heat dur­ing the ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tions of the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics at the Olympic sta­dium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 16, 2016.

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