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Cambridge's McClintock living her dream on and off the water ahead of Pan Am Games

The Cambridge water ski star is packing up her three-year-old son and heading to Santiago, Chile for another shot at gold

Life is all about perspective for Cambridge water skier Whitney McClintock as she gets ready to embark on her 5th Pan Am Games.

A fierce competitor out on the water, it was three years ago she found her true purpose when she gave birth to her son Zane.

"I love water skiing," McClintock said.

"But I always wanted to be a wife and mommy."

Now, with Zane in tow, she's ready to board a flight to Santiago, Chile to compete for her country again.

Being in the air, much like being on the water, is nothing new to Zane despite his young age, as he's accumulated over 100,000 air miles from trips around the world with his parents, including to Australia, Europe and California.

Representing her country is an honour that has come frequently for McClintock, but not one she's ever taken for granted. 

Four years ago while in Peru, she announced that the 2019 games would be her last as she was excited to start a family and didn't believe she would be able to make the team again with her shifting priorities.

She was humble, but wrong. To be fair, it's never good idea to count out an 11-time Pan Am medallist.

"I’m praising God for the opportunity to collect one more Pan Am medal," she said.

"I've had an amazing year of competition, including many podiums and four pro wins. Coming into Santiago, I'd like to perform to my ability level and enjoy our time in the city and the village as much as possible. Ultimately, I'd love nothing more than to bring home gold for Team Canada."

Despite being a regular at the games, this year marks the first time she'll participate in the opening ceremony. It's an opportunity for her to show off her national pride at least one more time.

"I can be proud of where I came from and pray that the best is yet to come for our beautiful nation," she said.

"I crave to sing 'Oh Canada' on the podium because it's a declaration of what the true north was built upon."

Admittedly, her training and preparation has changed over the years. It starts early with getting Zane ready for the day and doing a devotional on her Bible App.

Post workout activities now feature jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes and scooters, playing with toy trucks and preparing home cooked meals for the family. Ice baths and massages are also critical as they "keep me from feeling old," she says.

When she touches down in Chile, it'll be a family reunion of sorts as her husband Matt Rini serves as a coach for Canada and step-daughter Paige Rini will also be competing.

Having the chance to share the experience makes it all the more sweet.

"I love travelling the world with my family," she said.

"I’m so grateful I get to enjoy all of these parts of my life every day. This has been such a long and amazing journey."