As a youngster, Tanya Dubnicoff dreamed of competing in the Olympics. She began playing ringette at age seven and eventually played for Canada in the first World Ringette Championship in 1990. She began racing BMX bikes at 12 and became the Canadian champion in her age group. Then she played hockey at the University of Manitoba. But it was sprint cycling, which she began at age 18, that ultimately took her to the Olympic Games (1992 - Barcelona, Spain - 6th; 1996 - Atlanta, USA - 8th; 2000 - Sydney, Australia - 7th).
While her Olympic appearances were highlights in her cycling career, it was something a little closer to home that will rest in first place forever in Dubnicoff's heart. In 1999 when Winnipeg hosted the Pan Am Games, Dubnicoff went on to win two gold medals. "I've been to three Olympic Games but the best was competing at home in front of my family, my friends and supporters in 1999 at the Pan Am Games. I carried the flag in the opening ceremonies. By far, that was the best moment I've had in sport, ever," Dubnicoff said.
Before she retired from competition in 2000, Dubnicoff won the Canadian championship nine times (1992-2000). She won the 1993 World Championship, and a total of four Pan Am gold medals also winning in 1991 in Havana, Cuba and 1995 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. She twice won gold in the Commonwealth Games in 1994 in Victoria and 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is the most successful female in the history of Canadian track cycling. On Aug. 20, 1993 when she won the World Championship in sprint cycling, she became the first Canadian woman to win that title in the century-old event.
Close to retiring during a painful five-year medal drought at the World level, she consulted with sports psychologist Cal Botterill, took two weeks off, went to the mountains to paint and returned to win bronze at the 1998 World Championship.