Oct the 07 Beach Men Senior, Corporate
Beach volleyball's Sam Pedlow announces retirement
October 07, 2022: After a decade of donning the maple leaf, beach volleyball athlete Sam Pedlow has announced his retirement from the Canadian National Team.
"Having represented Canada for the past 10 years as a member of the National Team was an experience that not only helped shape me as an athlete, but also as a person,” Pedlow explained. “I never thought volleyball would have such a big and long lasting effect on my life.
“Being a professional beach volleyball player on the FIVB World Tour, NORCECA Tour, at the U21 World Championships, at the Senior World Championships and in pursuit of the 2016/2021 Olympic Games was something I never thought possible. Even now looking back on the experience sometimes I still don't believe that this kid from Barrie (Ontario) was able to not only follow his dreams but exceed his wildest expectations in the sport of beach volleyball.”
As many beach volleyball players do, Pedlow started starting his career on the indoor court. This included playing for Queen’s University, where he graduated from in 2010. It wasn’t long before he was hitting the sand at the international level, hitting the NORCECA circuit in 2012 followed by the FIVB World Tour in 2013.
Looking back at that time, there was one mentor that Pedlow stands out in that transition period: “Ahren Cadieux entered my life even in the early days of beach volleyball and would eventually become my coach,” Pedlow explained. “I remember when I was younger, Ahren was one of the first people to tell me he thought I could play internationally at the FIVB Level. Ahren was someone who selflessly dedicated himself to helping me become my best self on and off the court.”
Pedlow started his National Team career partnered with Grant O’Gorman. Together, they earned eight medals at the NORCECA level, highlighted by three silver medals and a push Olympic qualification.
"Our 2016 season will always be one I will never forget,” said Pedlow. “We developed as athletes, as people, as friends through our partnership.”
After the pair split in 2016, Pedlow teamed up with Olympian Sam Schachter. The two would go on to win Pedlow’s first gold medal at the 2016 NORCECA Beach Volleyball circuit in Tobago. The duo would continue to find success, earning a silver medal at the 2017 Presidents Cup, 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the 2021 NORCECA Continental Cup.
The Commonwealth Games medal holds a special spot in Pedlow’s heart.
"One of my favourite memories from my time with Team Canada was winning the first-ever medal for Canada in beach volleyball at the Commonwealth Games. Although I am certain Canadians will continue to perform well at this event, it felt very special to be a member of that first Canadian beach volleyball team competing for that podium spot.”
Pedlow made another Olympic push in 2021, falling just short of the Games.
“I'm not sure I could have asked for a better person to make my last Olympic run and finish my career with than Sam Schachter,” Pedlow reflected. “A student of the game, he continues to bring the best out of his partner and I wish him nothing but the best as he pursues Paris 2024.”
Pedlow has had time to look back at his playing career and those that helped support him throughout, in addition to those already mentioned. “I'm not sure at the time she realized it, but the work ethic and discipline Brenda Willis instilled in me at Queen’s University is what laid the foundation for success throughout my entire volleyball career," he explains.
“Another is Lennard Krapp, a coach I lost the 2016 Olympic Trials to, only for him to become my coach for the 2021 Olympic run. Lennard was able to push me to be the player he always thought I could be since first bringing me onto the National Team in 2012."
He also recognizes the role of family: "Without the love and support of my wife, my parents, my sister, my parents in law as well as other families, there is no way I could have done what I did. Their love and support means the world to me.”
His career has taught him valuable lessons in life, that he will carry forward in his post-playing career: "Sport taught me that you are not defined by your wins or losses,” he said. “Whether you win or lose, you as a person remain the same. Your values and your beliefs, what really makes you who you are, do not change.
"Sport taught me to expect the unexpected in life. If you have a plan laid out, I can guarantee that sport has a different one. ... Lastly, sport has taught me that I am enough. It's easy to always be looking for that 1 percent, to get caught up looking at weaknesses, and forget about what makes you great. It's especially easy when your training, or your results are not meeting your expectations. It is in these times that sport has taught me to remind myself that I am enough always.”
Pedlow has already set himself up for his post-playing career, having completed his Master’s of Physical Therapy at Western University in 2012. He’s currently working as a Registered Physiotherapist and has been building his online business offering strength and conditioning coaching and programming for athletes around the world.
Most importantly, Pedlow is looking forward to spending as much time as possible with his wife Rebecca and daughter Ayla.
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