Sarah Wells


Olympian Sarah Wells is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. As an Olympic semi-finalist and Pan Am Games silver medalist in the 400m hurdles, Sarah’s reputation was built through overcoming challenges and achieving the “impossible”.  

Before finding the sport of track and field, Sarah was cut from every high school team she tried out for. It was thanks to a teacher who suggested she try running – that teacher believed in her before Sarah ever did. Together that teacher and her became coach and athlete and made the Olympics together just a decade later.  

Sarah recognizes not everyone is going to have that “teacher” or person in their lives, who believes in them, so the Believe Initiative was created to be that person for as many people as possible. 

Ever since Sarah was a child she has always loved to run. Whether it was around the park, at the cottage or during a soccer game, Sarah was running. Little did she know this simple activity would become the center of her biggest dream. 

Sarah grew up playing many sports from ice hockey and curling to baseball and soccer. But it was her high school teacher, Dave Hunt, who also happened to be a National Team coach that recognized her talent and encouraged her to pursue track and field more seriously. Sarah quickly fell in love with hurdles and her Olympic journey would unknowingly begin. 

When Sarah graduated High School, she chose to attend the University of Toronto Faculty of Physical Education and Kinesiology to continue her education as well as continue to work with coach Dave. Within their 8 years working together, Sarah became a 3-time National Champion and 5-time National Team member and represented Canada in multiple World Youth, World Junior and Pan American Junior Championships. 

In 2011, the year before the Olympics, Sarah was unfortunately diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left femur (thigh bone), which tragically sidelined her for 9 months. With the Olympic year fast approaching, Sarah was eager to get back on the track following a grueling recovery and rehabilitation program. When she was finally cleared to run, the London Olympics were only 8 months away and few people believed Sarah would be able to overcome such a devastating injury and ultimately compete in the Olympic Games. However, Sarah surrounded herself with an integrated team of physicians, coaches, family, and friends, which enabled her to train, perform and continue to remain realistic about a seemingly impossible dream. 

Fortunately, through hard work, perseverance and an unwavering belief in herself, Sarah ran Olympic standard, won the Canadian championships, and was named to the 2012 Canadian Olympic team. At the games, Sarah made it through the heats to the Olympic semi-final round. She placed herself in the top 24 in the world and was one of the youngest competitors in the field. 

Since those games Sarah has added to her National Championship Gold medal count and most recently won a silver and bronze medal at the Pan American games in Toronto. 

When Sarah isn’t travelling North America to speak or the world to compete, she resides in Toronto, Ontario. 

Topic Presentations

We’re all in a race. The pressure, the deadlines, the competition. While every scenario may be unique, we all want to move quickly and win. Sarah’s energetic approach, engaging stories and her capacity to inspire an audience will leave them ready to take action and win the only race that matters - theirs!

Whatever you goal is, there is a path to take you there. The path won’t always be easy, but the journey will always be worth it. This was certainly true for Olympian Sarah Wells, who has encountered roadblock after roadblock on her path to athletic success. The podium has always been the destination however, it was the challenging moments in-between that made Sarah the champion she is today. In this session Sarah discusses the importance of positively reframing your mindset, surrounding yourself with the right support, learning to deal with “failure” and relentlessly pursuing your goals not only to achieve success but also find significance in the obstacles you face.

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