Maddy Price had just arrived in Scotland when she learned she would be competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as a member of the Canadian track and field team.
Price, an elite 400-meter runner, had been racing in Europe and had just left Germany for Scotland to visit her younger sister, Nikky, who is pursuing her masters at University of St. Andrew's.
The former Menlo School athletic standouts (Nikky played NCAA Division I lacrosse) were together when her childhood dream became a reality.
"It was so special to be with my sister when I found out I made it," said Price, who shared her and Nikky's overjoyed and tearful response on Instagram while their mother Sarah was in the Bay Area on facetime, also bawling. "I think it would have been hard to be in a hotel in Europe, or flying back by myself when I heard, so that was amazing to be with family. In that moment, it really was the people and the process that went along with this journey that came to mind."
Price hadn't seen her sister in over a year due to training, caring for an injured foot, and the travel ban due to the pandemic.
Last year began as a nightmare for Olympic athletes. In March 2020, Team Canada made the bold and difficult decision to withdraw from the Olympics. Days later, the Tokyo Games were cancelled.
Price made the most of that time in Olympics limbo, taking care of an injury, rehabilitating, training and coaching.
After undergoing foot surgery in the fall of 2020, Price returned to Duke as a volunteer assistant coach, and the Blue Devils, including some of her former teammates, won the first Atlantic Coast Conference title in program history.
Fast forward to a couple months ago: Team Canada announced that there would be Olympic Trials. For Price and those that train outside of Canada, the two-week mandatory quarantine was tricky.
Athletes were not obligated to compete at trials, and instead the national team was decided by a committee who looked at who made the time standard, who is the top 48 in the world based on an algorithm of head-to-head races, past performances, and trials among other criteria.
"Because it's invite-only, it does make it a little more complicated, a little more uncertain but that's just something we've all gotten used to with COVID," Price said in June. "I'm just doing what I can, running as fast as I can and doing all that's in my control."
Price, whose parents are Canadian, began her professional track and field career in 2019, competing in the IAAF World Relays in Japan, World University Games in Italy, and the IAAF World Championships in Qatar.
These days she's preparing to be an athlete on the biggest world stage. Price will compete on the 4x400 relay team.
"It still gives me chills, and makes me emotional just thinking about it," Price said. "It feels like a combination of so many things: dedication and passion and love and support that all went into this goal."
Price remembers watching Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track Olympian, win gold in the 200 in London in 2012. She would later get to race with Felix, but has lasting memories of the veteran sprinter, who will be competing in the 400 in Tokyo.
"She had gotten second in that event and was just searching for that gold, and when she won gold, it was a moment I will remember forever," Price said. "I've had a photo of her on my wall since I was a kid. I remember the first couple of times I ran against her: first when I was at Duke and we raced at the Mount Sac Relays and thinking ‘Oh my gosh this is crazy' and later in the world championships lining up against her in the mixed relay. I think that would be one of my favorite Olympic moments growing up."
A two-time Central Coast Section champion in the 200 and 400 at Menlo, and a six-time All-American at Duke, Price has been competing for the Canadian national team for years.
Price's first love was soccer and her ambition ran high to before she entered Menlo Middle School. That's when Menlo track and field coach Jorge Chen urged her to run.
"I always wanted to be at the top of sport no matter what sport that was," Price said. "Track was starting to get very interesting but at the time, I had always envisioned myself going to the World Cup in soccer, trying to make it to the Olympics."
Price's parents exposed the sisters to a high level of sports. Their late father Shawn was a professional race car driver and off-road motorcyclist.
"I always dreamed of that," Maddy said. "As I came out of Duke it started to become a reality. My younger self would be so excited right now, and I try to always remember that and enjoy and cherish where I'm at because I wanted this for so long so enjoying this process is the biggest part of it."
Price will continue to work out in North Carolina before departing for Gifu, Japan, where Team Canada will gather to acclimate to the time change and weather while training.