Canadian runner, Kyra Constantine, sprints for the Olympic Rings

Canadian sprinter, Kyra Constantine, was on a mission and she set her sights on the University of Southern California. The 19-year-old sophomore made a decision years ago about the path she desired for her athletic career: to run track at an American University. During her younger years she played basketball, participated in karate, and ran track. As her schedule began to fill, at age 10, her father told her a decision had to be made. Track was it! Kyra felt that track provided far more opportunities than her other sporting options and as she truly committed to the sport, Kyra’s abilities soared, with her parents cheering her along.

After Kyra qualified for her first national team, she earned a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the 2014 World Youth Olympic Games in China. Following this performance, she placed fourth and third in the 2015 World Youth Championships held in Cali, Columbia, in the open 400 meter dash and the “Co-Ed” 400- meter dash, respectively. But the difference between running track in Canada and the United States, was distinct. In Canada, prospective student athletes were not invited to university campuses, visited by recruiters or assigned academic tutors once they committed to the school. Beyond recruiting differences, the training style in the U.S. proved to be more intense than she experienced in Canada. Kyra always planned to leave Canada and run for a collegiate team because she felt competing in the United States, would prepare her for World Class status.

But there are often drawbacks to creating opportunities for oneself. For Kyra, the move far from Ontario to Los Angeles meant only being able to see her family and childhood friends once a year. Though she misses her family, track and field awarded Kyra with life skills she may not have acquired if she had not traveled as often. Track afforded her the opportunity to compete in China, Columbia, Peru, and multiple locations throughout Canada while simultaneously meeting a wide array of individuals. Similar to her past experiences, when it was time to leave for USC, Kyra knew she was prepared to prosper.

Now, with a specialty in the 200 and 400- meter dash, Kyra sets her sights on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, followed by multiple World Championships, and a fruitful career as a professional Canadian track star. University of Southern California has been home to 423 Olympians. Will Kyra Constantine be the 424th?

Author: Cydney Gillon, OIS Communications Editor, Master of Strategic Public Relations, Class of 2018