You Are the Somebody You Are Waiting For! 

<La version française suit>

Back in 2009, I shared a story with Team Canada as they were preparing for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Though 2020 is incredibly different, unprecedented in every way, my message linking laundry with success and happiness still resonates. (Stick with me… it’s not actually about my laundry. It’s about success). The message was this:

        The other day I was taking laundry from my laundry room and a sock fell; I kept walking…. ‘somebody will get it’.

        I must have walked past that sock 4 or 5 times. I even got frustrated waiting for somebody to pick it up. Eventually, I realized it was me; I was the somebody that I was waiting for. (Perhaps it should have been obvious since I lived alone at the time!)

        Well, success and happiness work the same way. Somebody is going to achieve them. No matter how great or how not-so-great the day. No matter how early or late in the season. No matter how fair or unfair the situation. Somebody is going to win.

        Don’t get caught waiting for somebody else – BE YOUR OWN SOMEBODY!

2020 has been an incredibly difficult year. Nothing has gone smoothly. While our goals remain the same, our plans have been dismantled, reconstructed, de-railed, paused and restarted again and again. I can imagine the longing you have for unencumbered training, regular travel and competition. Sadly, it seems very unlikely that the pandemic will be over or adequately controlled soon.

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Tokyo 2020+1 – How is it Going to Look

How are the Tokyo 2020 Olympics going to look? While there is no crystal ball to predict the status of the pandemic through the coming year, here is our current thinking:

In my most recent message I mentioned that the Canadian Olympic Committee has been world leading in planning for its Olympic team to compete at its best at the Tokyo 2020 Games. This is true. What is also true, are these top priorities: 1) Ensuring the health and safety of Team Canada; and, 2) Supporting the highest performance possible at the Olympic Games.

In the coming months there will be many IOC, OCOG (Organizing Committee) and NOC meetings and announcements about how the Tokyo Games will be delivered. Planning is proceeding with the anticipation that a vaccine will not be widely available, if in fact one is available at all. As your Chef de Mission, I believe that this planning information should be shared with you as soon as possible. Know that your NSO and the COC are in complete agreement on this. Giving you a sense of the plans that Team Canada has in place will be better for your own (personal and team) preparation and performance at Games. Gossip and speculation are rarely helpful.

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Turn up the Volume!

I’m not sure about you, but I’m looking forward to moving past messages about patience and flexibility with respect to our goals. While these traits remain essential in the ongoing management and prevention of viral spread, and as a team you’ve done a phenomenal job at them…. I’d like to turn my Chef’s message back to performance and ambition management.

Let’s turn the “Can Do” volume up, and talk about winning again.

I won 6 World and Olympic titles and stood beside the top spot another 6 times.  If you asked me what was the most important ingredient in my mental soup for that stretch of time, I’d give you a list like this;

  1. Be confident in your preparation and training.
  2. Be respectful of the great potential of your competitors
  3. Fear and Doubt will be present at all of your Can I? Will I? moments (in competition and training)
  4. Believe that you are a somebody who can be better and/or outlast others.

 My soup, it seems, was kind of a mash up. Believe in me: Believe in them. Be doubtful: Be confident. How does that work? How can one person be simultaneously both?

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This is Your Story: Tokyo2020+1

An Open Letter to Canada’s Tokyo 2020 hopefuls: This Is Your Story

One year to go – again. Tokyo 2020 is now Tokyo 2020+1

It was a summer no one expected. The Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed, athletes had to put a pause on training and the future seemed scary and uncertain.

With exactly one year to go before the start of the Games, I penned this letter to Tokyo 2020 hopefuls:

“I can’t help but wonder: What is today? Is it a recognition of a missed year? Or a celebration of one year out? Either way, it’s part of your story.

Everything that has (or hasn’t) happened in the last six months and what will happen in the coming year, is part of your story.

What story? Every Olympian has a story, it usually has a lesson in it, and they tell it in different ways:

1. Their VERY SHORT story is of a moment during the Games.

2. Their SHORT story spans the Opening to Closing Ceremony and includes both Olympic competition and the Olympic city. (A bit of sport, a bit of culture, a bit of a party).

3. Their REAL story is longer, much, much longer. It’s a detailed, behind the scenes tale of persistence, determination, effort and resilience. It happens in isolation as well as before crowds and includes tears, pain, joy and celebration.

Most (all?!) Olympic stories include tales about how solid plans got disrupted and then how they were assessed, recalculated and continued. Think of an athlete you know or even someone you only know of. Do you think they got through their journey on a direct path? Not a chance.

So here you are. You had a goal and a plan. You were sent home. Your plan was put on hold.

More accurately, your plan was thrown in the garbage but your goal was not. However, your story continues. You’ve come up with a plan and you, and your team, are figuring it out. This is what you have always done – figure things out and thrive.

How you figure this out IS YOUR STORY.

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