She may be only 13 years of age, but Saanich’s Olivia Brodie is already at the top of her game.
The Cedar Hill middle school student is in Rio de Janeiro for the 2018 Junior Pan-American Karate Championships. Brodie will compete in both the kata (forms) and kumite (sparring) events in Brazil Aug. 22 and 23, where she will be amongst the youngest and lightest (-40 kilogram division) athletes.
Earlier this year, Brodie won the national title for female youth kumite in the -35 kg division at the Junior National Karate Championships, where she also earned silver in the kata division. Olivia took it all in stride.
“At the end of nationals she was just excited to be learning new katas for the next competition,” said her dad Ian Brodie, who doesn’t notice a lot of emotional highs and lows with Olivia. “As you get through one thing, it’s on to the next and you just realize you’re going to Brazil.”
It’s a routine Olivia has followed for the past nine years, since she joined older sister Malia (now 15) in karate at the age of four. Her dad says Olivia practises on average four days a week throughout the year, travelling to a tournament almost every month.
“She’s essentially gone nine years of competitive sport without any kind of real break or interruption,” said Ian Brodie, adding it’s never a challenge to convince Olivia to go to practice.
“She’s pretty focused on what she does. It’s pretty effortless on our part.”
Brodie trains with national team coach Kraig Devlin, who sees her mental focus as what has carried her to the elite level of karate.
“I think she’s a product of her training but also a product of her determination,” said Devlin, pointing out Olivia is also an elite pianist. “From a coaching eye, there’s some overlap between the discipline and the focus required to learn music and what she’s doing in karate as well.”