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How it all started for Kris Holm

As a geoscientist, Kris Holm, MSc’02, makes his living from knowing the land. But he’s probably covered more of it as an off‐road unicyclist.

Where it all started for Kris...

At four years old, Kris Holm, took up the violin. Over the years he became good at it, and while he trained in the classical mode, he picked up fiddling along the way. Learning the violin, he says, became something of a metaphor for the rest of his life, and his teacher, the late Frona Colquhoun, became his first and most influential mentor..

“Because I was doing it at such a young age,” he says, “she taught me that I could learn something that seems impossible at first glance.”

At some point, however, he must have decided that the violin wasn’t going to pay the rent, so he looked to other activities. One day, shortly before his twelfth birthday, he saw a man in downtown Victoria riding a unicycle, playing a violin. “That’s for me,” he thought, and asked for one for his birthday. And so it was that one of the world’s foremost unicycle athletes was born.

“Unicycling is a rare sport,” he says, “because initially it’s so difficult to do. Most sports, even the ones that are hard to do well, are easy to do badly. Anyone can get up on a skateboard, for example, and teeter precariously down the street. But even an athletic person can barely go a metre on a unicycle to start, and that stops a lot of people from trying.”

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