Alexa Loo prefers to perform when the heat is on. “I kind of work best with a little pressure and a deadline,” says the 37-year-old snowboarding Olympian and UBC grad. “I was never one of those students who had my projects done ahead of time.”
This approach should serve her well, given the hectic schedule and Olympic expectations that Loo faces. In January, the Richmond native had her best-ever World Cup results, nabbing the silver in the parallel giant slalom in Kreischberg, Austria. Shortly after, Loo was one of 18 athletes named to the Canadian Olympic snowboarding squad.
She’ll be looking to avenge her performance in the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics. Expectations were high, but a fall in the qualifying round meant that Loo finished in 20th place and narrowly missed the finals. “I was devastated,” she recalls. But Loo was also resilient – indeed, she quit her job and kept racing. “Now I get to compete for a home crowd!” she says.
Loo first tried snowboarding when she was 15 and fell in love with the sport. In 1995, she joined a racing club, and the stage was set.
Along the way, she attended UBC, where she earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1994 (followed by a chartered accountant designation four years later). She also rowed and swam on varsity teams, joined the ski club, studied abroad and caroused on Wednesday nights at the Pit Pub. “I made the most of my university experience and I loved it,” she said.
Since leaving school, she’s been able to speak French and German on the World Cup circuit, a skill honed by her studies at UBC. And recently, she used her math and stats training to keep track of the Canadian Olympic Team rankings.
In addition to the upcoming Winter Olympics, another life-changing event will soon come Loo’s way: a 2010 wedding. Loo got engaged shortly before her silver-medal run in Austria. “I got a new board and a shiny new engagement ring – the confidence in my equipment and my personal life allowed me to ride to my abilities and get on the podium,” she says.
Despite all the big events on the horizon, she’s managed to adopt a balanced outlook. “I am trying to keep everything in perspective. Marriage is the rest of my life, but the Olympics is one race.”
For more, visit www.alexaloo.com.