Mere months out from the big day, most brides aren’t zipping around the world, lacing up spikes and clocking world-class times on the track. On Olympian Melissa Bishop’s schedule this spring and summer has been Diamond League racing, Canadian track championships, family time spent in Eganville, Ont., another race in Monaco, World Championships in London, oh, and she has to fit in the rest of her wedding planning before walking down the aisle on Oct.7 to cap off a busy 2017.
Luckily, she and fiance, Osi Nriagu, have the majority of the wedding planning behind them. “We knew that four months out from the wedding, we wouldn’t have time. We’re not stressed out yet. My focus is World Championships and I fit in wedding things here and there,” says Bishop. And yes, her tone is as calm despite the events mentioned in that statement.
Bishop is not only a pro Nike athlete, she’s a caliber of runner that Canada doesn’t often come across. The woman is talented to say the least– her 2015 World Championship silver, her 2016 Rio racing and her setting the Canadian 800m indoor and outdoor records all prove that.
Travelling across the globe is a part of her job that she says she loves but it requires a heck of a lot of focus. So when longtime boyfriend, Nriagu, (who she met through track in her early twenties at the University of Windsor) proposed over Easter of 2016, he unsurprisingly put a stipulation on the engagement: no wedding planning until after the Rio Olympics. But she’s not really the type to go crazy over glossy wedding magazines and Pinterest boards. “I wasn’t one of those people who had everything planned out before I got engaged,” says Bishop.
Now though, many of the important details have been taken care of. That includes the dress. Though the 28-year-old is staying mum to avoid giving away anything about her gown, she will tell us one thing: she bought it at His and Hers Bridal in Windsor, Ont. (she went with her mom and FaceTimed in her grandmother and maid of honour). Bishop leads a pretty crazy life but when talking to her, her down-to-earth side is quite apparent. Because she lives a globetrotting lifestyle, buying a dress close to home was a logical move seeing as she’d inevitably be in the area visiting family and could get alterations done then. Her shoes were a different story. She found herself a pair of glamourous heels while away at a track camp in Flagstaff. The trackie says shoes– other than running shoes– are hard to fit so once she found a pair that worked with the dress, she snagged them.
When asked about her future husband, Bishop doesn’t mince words. “He has been on my side for ever and ever– every championship, every Olympics Games,” she says. “He’s the rock in all of this.” Nriagu is a former long-jumper (read: he gets track life) and to Bishop’s surprise, proposed last Easter before she hopped on her flight to South America to compete as part of Team Canada. For the weekend scavenger hunt, Bishop filled plastic eggs with Mini Eggs (his favourite candy). He hid a ring in one for her. “I looked in and it’s this really big shiny rock,” she says adding that she wasn’t expecting the proposal to come before the Olympics.
“I couldn’t imagine doing this without him,” Bishop, nodding to his background in the sport. “It’s a selfish sport. A lot of focus is on the athlete and what to do to make the athlete better. He gets that.”