Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan. There was certainly not a whole lot of money to support fancy sport facilities in my tiny town, but I was lucky to live in a very supportive community that did what they could to provide the basic fundamentals of childhood development and allowing myself and other children to be “free range” kids in a very safe environment.  I engaged in every sport, even if it was only boys playing. However, I have always loved and had a special place in my heart for track and field for as long as I can remember!   In my grade 8 year, we had a new Phys Ed Teacher come to our school.  He started a small track club at our school and I jumped in with both feet!  We trained up and down the school hallways in the winter and raced on the cinder track full of gopher holes in the summer and I couldn’t be happier!  I was also very blessed with love and support of my family and parents that never said I couldn’t do something.  I am sure I drove them crazy, but they always stood by me and allowed me to push on and achieve my goals.


Later in my athletic career I had another influential coach who really opened my eyes to the world of possibilities sport could provide for individuals.  I became to realize that I wanted to be someone who could positively influence individuals to help them overcome barriers and realize their potential through the eyes of sport.  I learned quite quickly the sport teaches individuals extremely important skills that support them throughout their entire lives! Hard work, commitment, accountability, determination, goal setting, overcoming loss and embracing strengths and weaknesses to be successful all learned through sport will stay with individuals for the rest of their lives.


After leaving my small town, I went to University of Saskatchewan and achieved my Degree in Nursing.  I loved helping people and I believed that this was the career for me!  I worked in Northern Saskatchewan in a few nursing stations and then continued to work full time in the Operating Room for ten years.  While nursing, I just could not get Track and Field out of my head and soon, I left nursing to pursue my dreams to be a Sport Leader within Canadian Track and Field.  My life is full of mentors and great leaders, and my hope is I will be a positive influence on others and help them to be their greatest self.


I am a three-time Olympic Team Coach/Member (2008, 2012 and 2016 Games), three time IAAF World Championships Team/Member and held multiple Head Coach roles (World University Games, Para PanAm Games, IAAF World Juniors and IAAF World Youth Championships). My latest role with Athletics Canada is Head Coach and Lead of Paralympic High Performance. This new role brings on many exiting challenges not only regarding the program, but personally and professionally. I am thrilled to take on this project with the goal in increasing the number of Canadian Paralympic Athletics athletes on the podium at theParalympic Games and WPA World Championships.


Lastly and most importantly, I am a proud mother of two amazing children who continue to amaze me with their talents, maturity, their sense of the world today and their very funny humor. Their insight on life continue to challenge me in everything that I do.


Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.


I have experienced many barriers in my life, but none that have paralyzed me in chasing my dreams, so for that I am extremely grateful and blessed.  It had been told to me several times early in my career

that to be a good mother, I should settle down, stay home and tend to my children’s needs.  I refused to believe that not dropping my personal and professional goals would hinder the development of my children.  On the contrary, I believe that through my hard work and determination, my children (one daughter and one son) will be and already are unstoppable in whatever they choose to dream to be.


How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport to helped you overcome your barrier?


The biggest skill I believe I have is always keeping my sights on my goals or in some cases the other side of what some people may perceive as a barrier.  I have always been able to find ways to move the barriers aside (or jump right over top of them!) to continue to focus on my goals.  If you lose sight of your goals, you lose sight of your way!  The key for me in overcoming barriers is surrounding myself with positive support and love.  This support comes from my children, family and my close friends.  Lots of people have asked me how I am able to juggle so many balls in the air all at once?  My answer is always:  I am always dropping balls, probably dropping more balls than there are actually in the air, but the key is to have supportive family and friends who will pick up those balls and throw them right back in the air for me and avoid those folks who would rather kick the dropped balls away.


If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy, what would it be? Why?




When I set my mind to something, I set a goal and I won’t stop until it has come to life.  My intensity to the commitment of achieving the goals is consistent in whatever I set out to do.


If you wanted to motivate a young female athlete to #BuildHerUp, what quote would you use? 


“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be”  Maya Angelou


Twitter: @Carla_nicholls

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