Local Olympians Tie The Knot!
The trajectory of local Olympian’s Wyatt Sanford’s success has been one of hard work and fortuitous changes. The first change was the switch from right-handed to left-handed boxing—which launched a winning streak of 22 fights, including his first Canadian title at age 13 and his first international win at the World Ringside Championship in Kansas.
The next fortuitous switch was purely altruistic. Two boxers on the team were in the same weight class, so Sanford went up a weight class so his teammate could stay on the team and Boxing Canada wouldn’t lose a fighter—from 139 pounds to 152 pounds. His first fight was against a 6’3’’ opponent—Sanford is 5’8’’. He won, and with his new left-hand and weight, he went on to place 9th in the World Championship in Russia in 2019.
“At this level, I focus mainly on mental preparation and the game plan. In addition to training for hours every week, I study videos of my opponents’ fights to analyze their weaknesses and strengths and strategize how to match them to my own,” says Sanford. “Fighters from different continents actually have different styles, and I actually do better against Europeans than Americans”.
Of course the ultimate competition for all athletes is the Olympics, but Covid interrupted the usual schedule of international fights that are intended to prepare athletes for it. So Sanford had to wait while the International Olympic Committee chose its Olympic nominees without a qualification tournament.
The result? At the age of 22, Sanford landed in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic games. But Tokyo in the midst of Covid was an isolated place. A fellow Olympian texted him daily, “Do you want coffee and a walk?”
“No,” Wyatt repeatedly replied. Despite the isolation, he did not want to have coffee with Pamela Ware, a fellow Olympian in the diving category who can boast an equally illustrious career. Most recently, Ware raked in a bronze medal in the women’s 3m springboard at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships; she is also a two-time Olympian and a 7-time world medalist. But Ware and Sanford hadn’t talked in 6 years, ever since one of his teammates told him she had described Sanford as “an annoying little shit”.
But Ware persevered and Sanford was bored. Eventually, they discovered that they really enjoyed each other’s company.
Both Sanford and Ware did us proud in the Olympics, with Sanford ending up in 17th place, and Ware finishing in 18th place, due to an unfortunate misstep in her final dive.
Do we know how incredible it is to have two Olympian athletes in our community?
“I wouldn’t be here without the community of Kennetcook in Hants County,” says Sanford. They’ve been here for me from day one, helping me mentally and financially every step of the way. They care so much! A friend once told me that he’d driven down the street in Kennetcook at 2am on July 24 2021, and every light was on—because my entire community had stayed up to watch my Olympic fight.”
Sanford has accomplished a lot and the future of his boxing career remains an exciting mystery. The future of relationships is also a mystery, but Sanford and Ware took the first step along the path of their future when they tied the knot this summer. So does this mean Ware has changed her opinion about Sanford?
“No,” Sanford admits ruefully, “but she says that I am her annoying little shit.”