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Competing at the top level with Crohn’s disease
  1. Alyx Treasure
  1. Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Alyx Treasure, Prince George, BC, Canada; alyx_treasure{at}

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Early potential and realisation of Olympic dreams

By the time I was 17, I had already spent 2 years going in/out of hospital. Having been told at the age of 9 that I would make the Olympics, I was very focused on my sporting goals. I had no prior family history of Crohn’s. It took 2 years for me to get a diagnosis and this severely affected my athletic development by preventing me from training/competing. I lost my opportunity to go to college in the USA, which had been a long-term ambition, and it would have been easy to give up on the sport.

Fortunately, I didn’t give up. I achieved my ultimate goal to qualify for the Canadian Olympic team in the high jump. I jumped 1.94 metres in the qualifying round, which put me in the Olympic final and helped me to realise my lifelong dream aged 24 years.

Health versus sporting goals

When you’re told at 9 years old that you will make the Olympics you become driven, I would remove anything in my path to achieve my target. I was told several times that I had to quit athletics due to my condition, and one doctor advised me to ‘pick health or sport’. I didn’t do well with being told what I could or could not do, and over the years, I have argued with my medical team. However, I needed to be challenged and it is great …

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