Athlete of the month
Wyatt Sanford - October 19
The Olympic Games looked very different in 2020. First, they were held in 2021. The demands on athletes were heightened with new, unfamiliar COVID protocols, without which the games could not have occurred. Perhaps the initiation of being an Olympian was different, but local athlete, Wyatt Sanford, would know nothing else and so the COVID protocols were just part of the experience.
Wyatt missed out on the opportunity to experience Tokyo with the restrictions in place: each athlete had 48 hours to depart the Olympic village upon completion of their event. With his first boxing match within 48 hours of the opening ceremonies, Wyatt was not permitted to engage in the parade of athletes. But none of this crushed the comradery and fellowship – Wyatt shared living arrangements with the Canadian Men’s Volleyball team – touting stories of their height as he faced their chests in the apartment at only 5’8” and their shortest athlete being 6’4”.
In his first, and only, Olympic bout, Wyatt took a head butt to his left eye. The focus of the remainder of the match was on protecting his eye, knowing that even if he took victory over his African opponent (a 2-time Olympian) he would not be permitted to continue for medical reasons. But Wyatt is no quitter, and he remained a worthy opponent showing his resiliency and heart and giving the opposing boxer a challenge in the ring.
Wyatt’s effort did not go unnoticed in the proud East Hants village of Kennetcook – small COVID responsible gatherings took place and one local community member remarked, “I have never driven home at two in the morning and saw as many lights on as I did that night. I think almost every house I drove by was lit up.”
Kennetcook and surrounding communities were not only watching but they sold Amazon and a Dartmouth speciality store, out of Olympic flags. Even a friend of Wyatt’s in Scotland, who has no other connection to NS, wanted to share in the community spirit. The Scottish friend purchased a Canadian flag to fly above their garden shed, a gesture felt all the way across the world in East Hants. That spirit continued upon Wyatt’s arrival home – win or lose Wyatt was the pride of community and family alike.
When asked “What’s next?”, Wyatt’s clear focus is already on Paris 2024. He is eager to train and return to the 63Kg weight division. He will have a few opportunities to participate in along the road to Paris, such as the Commonwealth Games in London in Summer 2022. In the meantime, Wyatt is preparing for an upcoming card in St John, NB, this November against his opponent from Ireland.
For more information about this match and to follow Wyatt’s journey to Paris 2024, be sure to follow his Instagram account or the Facebook group: Sanford Boys Boxing.