Maddy Price reached the pinnacle of her sport when she was named to the Canadian Track and Field Olympic team this past summer.
Price had just finished a month alone in Europe, where she raced in professional meets after recovering from foot surgery hoping to qualify, and was visiting with her younger sister Nikky in Scotland when she learned she made the team as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
"A life-long dream came to fruition," she said. "It was an emotional moment."
Team Canada had high hopes for the event in Tokyo. After finishing fourth with a time of 3:26.43 in Rio, the Canadians continued working together to improve, also finishing fourth at the 2019 World Championships. They set their sights on a medal.
All four runners recorded personal bests and Canada raced five seconds faster than in 2016. Team USA won the gold medal in 3:16.85, followed by Poland in 3:20.53 and Jamaica in 3:21.24.
Canada was fourth in 3:21.84.
"I'm proud of the team for running PRs," she said. "We came together and fought as hard as we could. We were capable."
Her journey began years earlier, taking her through a series of trials and tribulations which included injury, personal setbacks and a failure to make the 2016 Olympic team by the slimmest of margins.
Her most recent successes rose out of those setbacks because of her unwillingness to accept defeat, her commitment to excellence and a refusal to give up.
The Menlo School grad and Duke alum continues to work on a new set of goals, some of them pointing toward the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and some of them advancing a burgeoning public speaking career.
Based in Durham, North Carolina after graduating from Duke, Price has since moved to Austin, Texas, where she is training with a new set of coaches.
She's also making public speaking appearances, carrying an inspirational message from her Olympic experience and the growth and lessons learned from detours along the way.
"I talk about the whole process," Price said in a telephone interview about a recent visit to Menlo. "It took 10 years to get to that point. I talk about cherishing each moment. We can be so focused on the result and the beauty of it all is the journey."
Price ran her first cross country race as a sixth grader, at Westmoor High in Daly City. She remembers the feeling of competition, something she had already picked up from her father, with whom she also spent hours in the backyard playing basketball.
"As I kept running I remember wanting to go past the next girl and then wanting to get past the next girl and the next one," she said. "I ended up having a pretty good race and discovered I could do this. Later on, in track, I kept pushing."
She became a four-time Central Coast Section champion in the 200 and 400 meter races and has the second-fastest 400-meter time in CCS history at 53.20.
Price set school records in both the 200 and 400 meters at Duke.
She finished fifth in the 400 at the Canadian Olympic trials in 2016. The top four made the team.
"I was devastated," she said. "I had to sit down with my coaches and talk about what I needed to do. I wanted to be the best and we moved ahead with a new plan."
Not long after missing out on the Rio Olympics, Price lost her father to cancer.
Shawn Price, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, was also renowned for his accomplishments in endurance motorsports. He won the 24 Hours at Daytona and took part in both the 7,000 mile Paris-to-Dakar Rally, where in 2003 he was the top finisher among all America continents, and the Baja 1,000.
"Ever since I was younger he was the spark," Price said. "I wanted to compete at a high level and I decided on track. I love that racing feeling. I felt like he was with me through it all."
Shawn was Canadian, making Price (born in Palo Alto) eligible to compete for Canada.
Her inspiring story was born out of tragedy and there's still more to come.
"I still feel like there is a lot left in me," Price said. "I plan to continue running. It was such a high from the Olympics to returning to reality. There's still work to be done."
Price hopes to accept many more speaking engagements. Inquiries can be sent to her marketing agent, [email protected]