That was then, this is now. And a Thank you.

<La version française suit>

It’s April 2021. There are 130 days until the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony. (Being part of 10 Olympic teams has taught me to stay focused on when I’m done versus when I’m starting).

Recently there has been a lot of media coverage regarding the one-year anniversary of the postponement of the Olympic Games. That moment has been acknowledged and now we move on. That was then; this is now. It’s time to be laser-focused on the year we’re having. (Last year was sooo 2020). There was also the announcement that no overseas spectators will be allowed. We recognize that this may be a great disappointment for you, your family and friends and that unravelling those plans might be stressful before everything is sorted out. Be patient.  

If I could – I would add a t-shirt to our uniform that says, Complicated…but! as this phrase seems to be part of everyone’s answer to “How’s it going?” I am very aware that many things remain complicated… but! every day you are moving forward – closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
(Pro tip -That’s all you need to do.)

Within a few weeks we will cross the 100-day marker until the Games begin. Olympic things are happening every day. For example; the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks have been released (another version will be released at the end of this month), the Olympic Torch Relay has begun in Japan, and Canadian athletes are being nominated to the team (in March – our sailors and sport climbers). You’re getting there very differently than anyone could have ever planned…but I have no doubt that you will be surprised by how strong you are, and how ready you will be.

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Choices, Perspective (and the no-fun books.)

Less than 150 days to go!

The Tokyo Playbooks are out and we’ve shared that operational information with you. It’s not the final word, as they will be updated in late March and April, but I like to see them as a very positive step. They are not about “if’ the Games will happen, they are all about the Games HAPPENING.

I’m going to guess that sport – how much time you’ve given to it versus to your friends, family, school, career, etc… as well as where you’ve had to physically be, or move to, so that you could become world class –has for decades, required countless choices. While other people might see an athletes’ choices as sacrifices, as if they have lost opportunities, we know better. The choices you’ve made have brought you to a remarkable life and lifestyle and you are surrounded by extraordinary people who believe that excellence is a legitimate goal. It is a life we are blessed to live.

Sacrifice ( noun: a loss incurred in selling something below its value.
verb: to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.

Choice ( noun: the right, power, or opportunity to choose and/or an abundance of variety from which to choose.

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Life Lessons from Kathleen Heddle

Kathleen Heddle Mother, Wife, Friend, 3x Olympic Champion 1965-2021

I’d like to share 2 life lessons I learned from Kathleen Heddle, a Canadian Olympic legend with 3 Summer Olympic gold medals as well as a bronze. Kathleen Heddle was my rowing partner for the better part of a decade. She passed away January 11th, after a brave 6-year battle with 4 different cancers.   Kathleen was quiet and unassuming and yet she was also the greatest Canadian, (if not one of the best global) rowers ever.  I am grateful not only for the sporting memories that we share but these and many other life lessons I drew from the time we shared.

  1. Fear and Doubt are part of a Champion’s path. Do not worry if, for a moment (or longer) you question yourself, your goal or your abilities; you are not alone. Your peers and competitors will be experiencing the same emotions. They are a normal part of an ambitious path.

On the eve of one of our first big wins, I shared with Kathleen that I was scared – the expectations for us to win were intimidating. When she, the GOAT that she is, shared with me that she was scared too, I knew I’d be okay. With my fear mixed in with my confidence – we won the next day, and (for the most part), for the next 5 years.

  • Relationships are not 50:50. Partnerships aren’t about meeting in the middle. They aren’t 50:50. You give 100% of what you’ve got and if you’re lucky you’ll be given 100% of what they’ve got.  

Kathleen was quiet, many would have described her as an introvert. She was never going to get 50% louder and I was never going to get 50% quieter – it just wasn’t in our natures. It took time and observation, but when I stopped expecting her to communicate to me in the way I communicated to her (and others), we began to click. (She learned that all the starboards (like me) had a speaking/ coordinating role and she stopped expecting me to say nothing.) We shifted our focus to each other’s strengths and quickly went from being a good combo to a great one.   

I’m a better Chef to this team because of her.

Kathleen Heddle 1965-2021

The Pendulum has swung!

Happy 2021!  (The 1st ever odd-numbered Olympic year!)

            News that the vaccine has a) been discovered b) approved federally and c) is already going into arms is astounding. This coupled with the fact that sport calendars are actually getting competition/qualification dates put into them!!! The pendulum has swung – momentum is moving with us once again. 

            The presence of a vaccine is changing everything and yet we still don’t know how it will affect the Olympic Games – it is a massive global event. It would be naïve to think that the Games won’t still require incredible steps of prevention and management. For now – the best thing that you can do – and increasingly you will get to do <wink> – is to continue to focus on your sport prep.

            Olympic competitions in July and August of this year will be amazing and hard fought – focus on that. How the Olympic games will unfold, and by games, I mean everything that happens around an Olympics that isn’t about your start time, performance and finish, remains – for now – unknown.

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