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'A really great fit for me': Calgarian to represent the United States at 2024 Summer Olympics

Calgarian Jamie Czarkowski will represent the United States in artistic swimming at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. (Glenn Campbell / CTV News) Calgarian Jamie Czarkowski will represent the United States in artistic swimming at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. (Glenn Campbell / CTV News)
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Jamie Czarkowski started artistic swimming when she was six years old. By the time she was eight, she had the dream of being an Olympian.

Czarkowski says the dream started after she met Olympian Cari Din, who won a silver medal at the 1996 games in Atlanta.

“Her mom is really good friends with my grandma and she went to the Olympics and got a medal,” Czarkowski said.

“So one day I met up with her and she showed me her Olympic medal and I got to hold it and that was I think the first time when I was like, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’”

Czarkowski will realize her dream at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, in late July and early August.

Even though she was born and raised in Calgary and competed in many events for Canada, she’ll go to the Olympics representing the United States.

Czarkowski is a dual citizen, her dad is American and she says there were a couple of factors that went into her decision.

“It was kind of a mix,” she said.

“COVID played a big part of that and the coaching here in Canada wasn’t really aligned with my values and down there it was aligned with my values. So I tried out and made it and it’s been a really great fit for me down there.”

Hero's welcome

Czarkowski trains in Los Angeles but recently came back to Calgary to visit family and friends.

She says she got a big surprise when she walked into the door. The house was decorated with American colours and posters congratulating her on making it to the games.

“It was really fun that they had planned this little surprise for me and we got to celebrate a little bit,” said the 20-year-old.

“I celebrated with my team right after it happened but it was nice that I got to come straight home to celebrate with them because they’ve been my biggest support my whole life.”

'It feels kind of surreal'

Team USA qualified for the games in artistic swimming for the first time since 2008.

Czarkowski will compete in the team completion but will also try out to make it as a duet. She still can’t believe she’s going to Paris.

“It’s super exciting and honestly it feels kind of surreal,” she said.

“It’s been this goal that I’ve been working towards my entire life and especially the past couple of years it’s been my main focus. Now that it’s really happening it’s super exciting and it feels like all my hard work and everything that I’ve given up and sacrificed is all worth it for sure.”

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