Maggie Carson will have to wait for her moment.
The Team Northwest Territories artistic gymnast suffered a high-ankle sprain two weeks ago and tore several tendons in the front of her foot.
She was hoping the injury would improve, but was unable to compete Tuesday and is out for the rest of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
For any other athlete, that setback would be world-crushing. For Carson, 14, who was the Team NT flag bearer at the opening ceremonies, it’s just a blip compared to what she’s been through.
Two years ago, at a competition in Vancouver, she woke up one day and couldn’t speak or hold anything in her hands. She was rushed to hospital, where doctors found a tumor on the left side of her brain. She had two surgeries and is now fully healthy.
“It’s kind of overwhelming to think I had two brain surgeries and I’m here, I’m breathing and I’m at the games. That’s pretty amazing,” she said.
“I was pretty afraid. I tried my best to stay positive but I definitely had my moments where I was scared and afraid. Thankfully, came out on the better side, so that’s really awesome.”
She has not competed since that day and was hoping to make her triumphant return in Red Deer. Although she’s been forced to the sideline, the teen is still happy, optimistic and thrilled to be here.
“I’m really just trying to enjoy the experience and the people. We knew when we were coming, it wasn’t about winning it was about having fun and being in the environment of the games. Just have an amazing experience,” she said.
It’s been super amazing. So much fun to be around all the athletes and to be able to talk to everyone from all over. It’s been fun.”
Combine those experiences with the honour of carrying the flag into the opening ceremonies last Friday, Carson still has plenty to take away from her time at the games.
“It was an amazing experience and an honour to do it for my territory,” she said of being the flag bearer.
“Everyone kept telling me not to be nervous. I wasn’t nervous, I was just excited and it was a lot of fun.”
Ultimately, the young gymnast from Yellowknife, who has been involved in the sport since she was two, knows she’ll have another chance to compete down the line.
With that perspective and also understanding the positivity she used to get through the adversity she faced two years ago, it is easy to expect her back in the gym in no time.