CSI Pacific Athlete of the Month Powered by 2XU

2XU

The Athlete of the Month is our way of acknowledging a BC-located athlete who has displayed outstanding performances in their sport and deserves recognition. Athletes chosen monthly to be the face of Canadian Sport Institute Pacific will receive a celebration feature on our website and a gift from 2XU.

Each athlete selected as Athlete of the Month receives a small token of congratulation sponsored by 2XU. CSI Pacific would like to thank 2XU for their generosity and support of the program.

Current Athlete of the Month

View this month’s 2XU Athlete of the Month

March 2020

Bianca Farella

Bianca Farella - 2XU Athlete of the Month 2003

Bianca Farella is a current member of the Women’s National Rugby 7s squad and trains out of Langford, BC. Team Canada is on a hot streak on the HSBC Rugby 7s World Series finishing in the top 3 in the last four stops (Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney). As a veteran of the team, Bianca leads the squad in tries scored, and is ranked 4th in the world in the DHL Performance Tracker metric.

Bianca has been a member of the National Team since 2012, was part of the Olympic Bronze Medal winning squad in Rio 2016, and will be representing Canada at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games. In addition to her career on the pitch, she is a constant presence in community at CSI Pacific events having worked as an Athlete Ambassador during the 2018 Athlete Advance event, and participating in a Sport Performance Speaker Series athlete panel reflecting on her experiences at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Sport:

Rugby Sevens

Birthday:

April 10th, 1992

Place of Birth:

Montreal, QC

Coach:

John Tait, Morgan Williams, and Stephen MacKinnon

Favourite Quote:

Impress yourself

Career Highlights:

  • Winning Kitakyushu 7s in 2019
  • Bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games
  • Celebrating my 150th try this year

Bio

The ideals of Olympicism hold true in my everyday life. I strive for success through hard work, perseverance, and resilience every day with a very empowering group of athletic women. I started playing rugby (15s) when I was 13 and climbed the provincial age-grade ranks until I was selected to an Under-18 tour for Canada in 2011. My first stint with sevens began when I started training with the National team in January 2013. I wanted to soak in everything there was to learn about being an elite rugby 7s athlete. That year our team won a silver medal at the 2013 Rugby 7s World Cup in Moscow and put women’s rugby on the map in Canada as a result of that performance. My passions are to strive for an equitable sporting world and I embrace the upcoming challenge of winning a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Q&A (MM)

How did you first get into Sport?

I always enjoyed playing sports growing up. I knew I was quick at a very young age, and I played any sport I could be a part of. I stuck with team sports because I love the atmosphere of playing alongside a teammate’s strengths. It’s a beautiful connection between people who come together for the love of the game.

I began playing rugby at age 13. A friend convinced me to try out for the rugby team and I never looked back! I played all through high school, and for U17 Quebec, U19 Quebec, and for the Senior Women’s Quebec team. I played for one year at Concordia University, and then for U18 Canada, U20 Canada, and for Canada’s 15s and 7s programs.

What was it like being at an Olympic Games?

If I could pick one word it would be: overwhelming. Overwhelming in the best and in the worst of ways. It is a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions. Being the first Rugby 7s Olympian came with a lot of unknowns as well, as we did not have an Olympic-experienced rugby player to guide us along the Olympic journey. However we did have past Olympians come speak to us prior to the Games which helped a lot with our expectations of the Games.

What was your favourite part about Rio 2016?

My favourite part was our mental toughness in the period between our last pool game versus Great Britain (loss) and our quarterfinal game versus France (won) a few hours later. That shift in mental performance sent a powerful message to ourselves and our opponents. Another favourite part was how much I enjoyed our Bronze medal match; We were in control the entire time, and were able to perform a convincing win over the same opponents we had lost to in pool play the day prior.

Another favourite part was going to McDonald’s for meals for a solid week.

What is a 2020 goal of yours?

My goal is to prepare myself as best as I can for the 2020 Olympic Games. I want to be able to shut down opponents’ attack patterns and slice through their defensive structures. I also want to be in a solid mental state during the Games, because there can be a lot of unwanted stressors.

How will training look leading up to Tokyo 2020?

Training remains similar to its usual pattern ahead of the Games. We will continue to put a focus on speed, as well as rugby skills, fitness, and weight training. One addition to our training is heat acclimation. Tokyo 2020 is supposed to be the hottest Olympic Games ever recorded, so we have begun training our bodies for the elevated temperatures and humidity.

Do you have a different game plan or mindset going in to Tokyo 2020 compared to Rio 2016?

Absolutely. Most of the stress I had coming out of the 2016 Olympic Games surrounded not winning a gold medal. Since then I have shifted my perspective to focus on our team’s strengths, strengthen our weaknesses, and I have been much less result-focused. Over the past 4 years we have been building to play great rugby, but our path has not been success after success. 2018 was the worst year performance-wise I have ever experienced, but we had to go through those tough years to build our structure. When we collectively stick to our game plan we have great results and play brilliant rugby. My mindset going into the 2020 Olympic Games will be to prepare myself as best as I can, to control what I can control, and to have fun playing my favourite sport.

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse?

A koala!