Monday, June 3, 2013

Olympic Reflection- Be Inspired

           Currently I sit looking out the window of my hotel room in Vancouver, where the mountains lay claim over the water. I stare out, barely registering the birds as they soar across the water, teasing the sailboats on their way to paradise. But, my mind is elsewhere; it is on people that I have just met, places that I have yet to go and events that have yet to occur.


     This weekend we sat through quite a few meetings, guest speakers and media interviews at the Olympic Excellence Summit. It is usually said about these events that, “It will be a good place to meet the other athletes”, hinting that everything else learned will simply be a bonus. Well in that case, I have received my Christmas bonus and end of the year bonus.


            The best parts of these few days were the guest speakers. As I sat at my table, with other future Olympians, my thoughts were on trying to introduce myself and remember everyone’s names, however as John Herdman, the Canadian women’s soccer team coach who led the team to bronze in London, started speaking, these previous worries didn’t matter anymore, we were captivated, mesmerized and most importantly of all, we were united, we were Canada. 


I have sung the Canadian anthem since I was a small child. I have used it to try out for school plays, I listened to it as I stood on the top of a podium. However, I will ask you the question that he asked us, have you ever actually listened to the lyrics?

John listened to our anthem and realized that Canada is the “true north strong and free”. As athletes, we rely on the coaches, but we make our own decisions; it is up to us to “see thee rise”. Yet, at times, before we can see our flag rise, we must pull ourselves from a fairly low place. One thing I have discovered is that when you do something for long enough, you will never get through it without struggling. 

It is always said that these struggles make us tougher and make us self aware, but when you are sitting there at what is said to be “the bottom”, these ideas don’t help much. 

This is where our bronze metal soccer team found themselves in the months leading up to London, however this was not such a terrible place to be. These tough moments, these black holes, are an opportunity to refocus, start again and make a hugely significant change that we may not have thought necessary before. Thus, as athletes, we promise to rise. 



Clara Hughes, an Olympian in both summer and winter Olympics, was next up on the agenda. I have met her before and she struck me as a confident, down to earth, successful woman. The kind that other people look at and wonder how she got to be so lucky. 

However, Clara has had to deal with such incredible emotional and physical struggle. She has dealt with depression, delinquency, losing a close teammate, sickness, and the list goes on. Through all of these craters, she has found a way to tell her story in a method that reaches others. It is so easy to merely focus on medals and results; that is all anyone cares about anyways, right? Wrong. Clara’s message came across loud and clear, “You can have an impact on others when you don’t think there will be one. Be that inspiration. Don’t underestimate the power of your actions, win or lose.” 

This made me decide that leading into these games, if I could take away one thing, it would be inspiration. I want to watch the country come together; I want to watch athletes give their everything, knowing that no matter what, they have done all they could; I want to watch people compete on the equal playing field that is the Olympics; I want to be inspired. However, I want to be that inspiration as well. At the race, I will bring everything that I have on that day, whatever that everything may be. Win or lose, medal or no medal, finish or no finish; I want my actions to speak to those Canadians at home. The nation that stands behind us “with glowing hearts” when we find ourselves in those dark places, and for that nation I will “stand on guard for thee”. 




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