Teaching a new dog Olds tricks


I might have taken a bit of a detour, but it seems I’ve been Alberta bound all my life.

I was born in Montreal, but my parents packed me up a year later and headed west. We spent the next decade working our way south along Highway 2, spending time in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary before returning to Montreal.

I went west again after finishing high school, this time landing in the suburbs of Vancouver, to start a degree in aviation (a plan that had been brewing since my Air Cadet days). Apparently B.C. was neither north, nor west enough, and so I bought a plane ticket to Alaska, where I rebooted a gymnastics career I’d left in Calgary a decade earlier.

I competed for the University of Alaska Anchorage while finishing my aviation degree. But it was here that I got my true start in journalism: the only place I was allowed to work was on campus, so I got a job at the student newspaper. I spent the next five years trying out different roles, and I tacked on a journalism degree for good measure.

When I graduated it was 2006, it was an Olympic year, which somehow led me to begin a new athletic career in the wild world of skeleton. If you aren’t familiar, it’s the version of extreme tobogganing that happens on the bobsleigh run at COP.

I moved to Whistler in anticipation of the 2010 Olympics, but the national program was based in Calgary. And so, I became Alberta bound several times a year. I got my first tastes of Stampede and high school rodeo, and finally moved to Calgary to train with the national team.

After retiring in 2012, I ventured in the other direction, going east to Germany, where I spent my mornings learning German and my afternoons eating every variation of a sausage available. When my visa expired, I decided to go keep my family company in Ottawa, where I studied journalism (again) at Carleton University in order to update my skills and really launch my career.

So. I took the long road, but here I am, back in big sky country again. Small- town life in farm country is still new to me, but with old friends scattered across this province, and new friends welcoming me to Olds, it feels like a homecoming. Maybe I really am meant to be Alberta bound. Old dog, new tricks right? Although, as a rookie reporter, I’m more of a new dog, learning Olds tricks.

But enough about me.

I’m here to tell your stories, not mine.

If you want to go digital, you can find me on twitter at @micbartleman, and while you’re at it follow @oldsalbertan, like us on Facebook or log on to the website at oldsalbertan.ca.


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