Hi – Konnichiwa ! – I’m your Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (What’s a Chef de Mission you ask? Good Question. I’m not sure as an athlete I totally knew either.)
Technically, the Chef de Mission is the Head of Delegation of an Olympic Team. The COC has professionals who have already been making operational and logistical decisions for you – so that’s off my plate. I suppose this leaves me with roles like: ambassador, advocate, mentor; and cheerleader in chief. Ultimately – I hope to be a resource to you, for whatever you need leading up to and throughout the Games
My goal is when you arrive at the Olympic Games that you compete with all the swagger and confidence that you have in your favourite environments; regular Tour competitions/tournaments, World Cups, World Championships, etc. I want you to feel so good at the Olympics that you can live up to the potential that you have given yourself.
When you get to Tokyo – My goal is that Team Canada is a Team that believes in MORE; that we can TRY MORE, LEARN MORE, DO MORE, or BE MORE all the time. I hope that you realize that this Philosophy of MORE applies to more than just sport; that it’s who you are and how you can lead (and win) by example.
But wait – who am I? My name is Marnie McBean and the Tokyo2020 Olympics will be my 10th Games. I went to 3 Olympics; Barceona92, Atlanta96 and Sydney2000, as a rower. I won 2 golds at my first Games (Women’s Pair and Women’s Eight), a 3rd gold (Women’s Double) and a bronze (Women’s Quad) at my second, and earned 2 ruptured discs, a DNS (Women’s Single) and a lower back surgery at my 3rd Games. I did media in Athens, and since then I’ve been on 5 Mission Teams as a Specialist in Olympic Athlete Preparation and Mentoring. Three Winter Games (Turin, Vancouver, Sochi) and two Summer Games (Beijing, London) taught me a lot about the different sports and sport cultures. I have had countless conversations with veterans and rookies about believing in self, doubting self, being on track, and being off-track.
In the next 10 months I hope to be part of conversations that normalize all the chaos – the ups, downs and WTF’s – that are going to come along with your audacious ambitions of being great – as an individual, or as part of a team at the Olympics.
How am I going to do that? I’m not totally sure. I’ll start with notes like this one, then maybe conversations on-line or face-to-face; we’ll figure it out. I know it will be different for everyone. My goal for these conversations is not to add to the stress of your Olympic Journey but to help you feel comfortable carrying the stress that you have already chosen.
Marnie McBean OC OLY
Chef de Mission Team Canada Tokyo 2020
You got this email because you are on the long list, as an athlete, coach, support staff or mission staff, for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I welcome replies and questions. Agree with me or disagree with me I’m happy to hear it – but most importantly – if this starts a conversation with your teammates, your coach – or yourself – about what you are doing or need to be doing – then we’re on our way towards MORE.
Some quotes to leave you with today…
On accepting stress –
- “As soon as you assign meaning to something, there will be stress” Alex Bilodeau- 2x Olympic Gold – 1st Canadian to win Gold in Canada.
- “I had been scared about the Olympics, but then when it was over, I realized it was just a race”. Marc, Gagnon – 3x Olympic Gold, 1 Silver, Short Track Speed Skating.