Culture

Runner Maddy Price reaches Olympic dream five years after losing her dad to cancer


The last time Maddy Price’s father saw her race, she finished fifth in the 400 meters. She left the track devastated as the four runners ahead of her qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

That was in 2016 at the Canadian Olympic track and field trials. Price did not know then that her father had been diagnosed with late-stage melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. Shawn Price, a well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneur and motorsports adventurer, was dead 3 ½ months later. He was 53.

Now Maddy Price is headed to the Olympics. Born in Palo Alto with dual citizenship, the two-time Central Coast champion from Menlo School, will represent Canada as a member of the 4X400 relay team.

Maddy wishes… well, we all know what she wishes.

“But at the same time, I know that he’s with me on this,” said Price, 25.

“That dream was theirs,” her mom, Sarah, said.

Maddy learned she made the team in early July while visiting her younger sister in Scotland, where Nikky Price is a graduate student at the University of St. Andrews. Sarah joined her daughters by phone and later planted flags of Canada and the Olympics on the back deck of her San Francisco home.

Five years ago, none of these seemed possible. Maddy required time to return to the track. The loss of her father had been too much to bear.

Shawn called her before every race, no matter where in the world he was. He was the one to console her after the 2016 Olympics trials, saying how proud he was of her effort no matter the result.

Now every time Maddy went to the starting line, she felt like throwing up and crying.

Sarah Price reminded her daughter, “You’re going back out there for you now, not for your dad.”

Maddy Price, left, with mother Sarah Price at the 2019 track and field World Championships in Doha, Qatar. (Courtesy of Maddy Price) 

Maddy returned to Duke University in 2016 and eventually earned degrees in sociology, political science and management studies. She also became a six-time All-American and has remained in Durham, North Carolina while pursuing a professional running career.

In 2019, Price competed in the World Relays in Japan, World University Games in Italy, and the World Championships in Qatar.

Since Shawn’s passing, Sarah Price has become her daughter’s primary supporter. At the World Championships in Doha, she sat in the same seat every day so Maddy could easily spot her.

Before each race her mom attends, Maddy touches her nose and points to the sky to acknowledge both parents.

That won’t be possible in Tokyo because no fans are permitted inside Olympic venues, an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Price has no idea yet whether she will race in the 1,600-meter relay scheduled for Aug. 5 and 7. Canada’s coaches won’t announce the relay lineups until closer to the event.

Sarah Price, who runs a Bay Area group for Canadians called the Digital Moose Lounge, is flying to Toronto to watch …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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