Bujnowski Barn Home Of World-Class Bobsledder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

Kristen Bujnowski. Photo: Facebook.

Like most athletes during the coronavirus pandemic, world-class bobsledder Kristen Bujnowski of Mt. Brydges has been forced to adopt old-school training methods during a time when the doors of many training facilities are locked.

That includes the Ice House and Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary, Bujnowski’s training centre and her home away from home.

So, instead of training with high-tech exercise apparatus and a team of coaches, trainers and psychologists, the 28-year-old bobsled brakewoman is working out on the family farm, in her parents’ barn.

“Instead of pulling a sled, I’m pulling a tire. Instead of pushing a Prowler sled, I’m pushing a three-wheeler. Instead of indoor hill sprints, I’m running on a hill in Delaware. But I’m doing a lot of running on cement, so there’s a lot more fatigue in my ankles, calves and shins,” said Bujnowski.

In February, Bujnowski and her pilot, Christine de Bruin, 31, of Stony Plain, Alberta won a second-straight World Championship bronze medal in two-woman bobsled in Altenberg, Germany. A week earlier, the duo finished third overall in the final women’s bobsleigh standings with a fifth-place finish in the final IBSF World Cup event in Sigulda, Latvia.

In March 2019, Bujnowski and de Bruin captured their first women’s bobsleigh bronze medal at the World Championships in Whistler, B.C.

The pair are favourites to medal at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

(L-R) Christine De Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski.

In mid-March, Bujnowski made the trek to Mt. Brydges with just a backpack, three pairs of pants and four shirts.

“I’ve had to buy some running shoes, and I found some sweaters that I wore when I was in high school,” said Bujnowski, back home on the farm with her parents, Jerry and Rose Bujnowski, and her brother, Mark, who works on the farm and trains with his sister.

Mark is a London Western Track and Field member and two-time Team Canada competitor who throws shot put and discus for the University of Guelph Gryphons.

The siblings have been able to source some weights and other gym apparatus from Hybrid Fitness in London, and from Middlesex Spine and Sport Clinic in Mt. Brydges. But they’re still creative in their training methods, which utilize wood pallets as a squat rack in the family barn.

“There’s a lot of space here, and I’ve been able to adapt when my training in Calgary at my suburban home would not be as good,” Bujnowski explained. “I’m really grateful for all of this space at this point in time. And being back on the farm feels like any other time I’ve visited home, except for the fact I can’t visit with my friends.”

Bujnowski said things are starting to improve for her in Calgary, where her teammates are creating a home gym in her garage. While CSI remains locked down, the federal government has announced more funding for amateur and elite athletes. As well, physiotherapy and chiropractic offices are preparing to open once given the green light from medical and government officials.

As an elite athlete, Bujnowski relies heavily on healing and preventative measures including registered massage therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture – things she is without while at home during the pandemic.

Of course, there’s no sensory deprivation tank for restricted environmental stimulation therapy in the family barn, so she’s substituting an isolation tank with what she calls a “bootleg tank” of Epsom salt baths.

“I’ve been going into the depths of the Internet, watching videos online, learning how to attack areas where someone else would typically help me with,” Bujnowski said. “This is longest I’ve gone in years without having someone else do work on me.

Bujnowski and de Bruin capture World Championship bronze. Photo: Twitter.

“But I still feel blessed, because I am able to adopt a new routine at home, and because of the community support.”

Elite athletes like Bujnowski are creatures of habit, so it’s no surprise that she said she hesitates – just a little – when thinking of heading back to Calgary once things open up, because she has built a solid workout routine in Mt. Brydges.

But with testing for World Cup competitions still slated for August and September in Calgary, and with Team Canada selection races scheduled for October, then World Cup races commencing in late-November, she knows she must return as soon as possible.

Just how the COVID-19 pandemic affects selection camps and competition remains to be seen.

Until then, the Bujnowski barn in Mt. Brydges remains a makeshift elite training facility.

Ed. Note: Read our feature story on Bujnowski’s bobsled career here.

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Jeffrey Reed is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist who has covered sports in London and Southwestern Ontario since 1980. Reach him at jeff@londonontariosports.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office https://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com. Sports journalist since 1980.

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