Cockburn may seek Olympic four-peat

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Karen Cockburn already is considered one of the all-time greats in Canadian gymnastics.

But the Toronto native has a chance to become a true legend in Canadian sport.

Cockburn is one of only five Canadian athletes to win medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.

The personable trampoline star won bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, silver at the 2004 Athens Games and another silver last year in Beijing.

The Skyriders club athlete has also won dozens of World Cup medals and the gold at the 2003 world championships.

If Cockburn were to stick around for three more years and win a medal at the 2012 London Olympics, she would become the first Canadian athlete to win medals at four consecutive Games (diver Emilie Heymans, also a medal winner in three straight games, plans to compete in London).

If that isn't enticing enough, the London Olympics would give her another chance to capture the elusive gold. Given all that, and the fact that, when healthy, Cockburn is still one of the premier trampolinists in the world, it's no wonder that she isn't writing off an appearance in jolly old England.

"It's obviously enticing, and it's always in the back of your head," Cockburn, 28, said yesterday, at the Canadian Gymnastics Championships at McMaster University, where she finished second to Skyriders teammate Rosannagh MacLennan. "It's still really far away and I don't know how my body's going to hold up, so it's hard to predict.

MacLennan hopes she sticks around for 2012.

"We train together and we both push each and she's been a role model for me throughout my career," MacLennan, 20, said. "I've benefitted a lot from her experiences."

Health is the key. A great part of Cockburn's consistency on the world stage has been her talent and drive, but also her ability to bounce back from injury. After joining the national team in 1995, Cockburn's career was put in jeopardy when she was forced to have reconstructive knee surgery. After competing at the worlds, Cockburn underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in December 2007. Two months later, she was back on the trampoline and won the silver in Beijing.

Next year, she will make the decision on London.

"I still really enjoy it, so that part of me wants to keep going," she said. "It just depends on my body and the other things in my life."

Cockburn believes a medal in London is attainable.

"A lot of the girls at the Olympics in Beijing where in their mid-30s," she said.


Videos

Photos