How to ‘do’ the Olympics – nine tips from a vet

C. Hamelin has been counting down the daysThe Olympics are just days away and I am so excited for the Canadian Team. It’s been a privilege being part of their world and sending out these emails for the last 14 months.  This is the last of the regular messages – and as you can imagine – there is so much I’d like to say. Here, as briefly as I can are 9 suggestions from an Olympic veteran that I shared with the Canadian Olympic Team on how to have the performance that you’ve been training for – at the Olympics;

1. Marching in the Opening Ceremony is fun – but competing in the Olympics is what you’ve been training for. You’ve been working way to hard for that point, that 100th of a second, or that rotation to give it away to a parade. Be smart – perform to your potential.

a.   If you do choose to go – have an incredible time. Live it – you don’t need to film every second of it. Why waste a live 360* HD moment by seeing it through a smart phone or camera? Soak it in!

2.  There is no right or wrong way to be an Olympian. These are your Games – and will be your experience. Introvert or Extrovert; it doesn’t matter. If you love to take in the crowd and want to see your family then that is the right thing for you. For others, being in a “bubble” and filtering out the chaos is the best plan. Stick to your norm and respect the choices of your Teammates around you.

3.  Don’t think that you can get through the Olympics without noticing that you are at THE OLYMPICS! I suggest that you behave a bit like a gopher. Now and then pick up your head and take a good look at everything around you and then put your head back down, focus and drive toward your goal. Remember – the spectator’s experience will be of play and vacation; you are there to work!

4.  There is a difference between the Olympic Games and the Olympic Competition. Don’t lose your focus – or your rest – to what can seem like a carnival around you. In an Olympic Village there will always be someone up, or something going on in the lounges.  Again, stick to your normal patterns – go back to your room when you need to settle down.

5.  Don’t expect perfection from the Olympic organizers. This is an event that involves well over 20,000 people to make it work – and there has been no test run. Expect some glitches in transportation, food, and even accommodation. Know that these will all get worked out, they always do.

6.  Try to stick to routines. If you normally hang out or eat with your team, try to still do that; make plans to eat or travel together. Routine is really comforting in a new or stressful environment.

7.  As the Games progress, there will be less and less stress and tension in the air. If you compete towards the end- expect that there will be a ‘lightness’ and decreasing sense of focus from those around you. Even in a respectful environment – that’s just normal release for those who are post-competition. (Remember: “Use Expectation as a Weapon”)

8.   Be careful of boredom. At the Olympics – there usually isn’t much to do. Hopefully the TV will have lots of English & French coverage. If you arrive before the Games start – there will be NOTHING on! 🙁

a. Don’t eat yourself out of a medal.

b. Take note of how much you walk. If you don’t normally walk a lot you can be surprised by how much you are on your feet at an Olympics.

c.  Going to and cheering at an event can be exhausting.

d.   Careful ‘blowing-off’ your nervous energy by doing something out of character. It could be that you’ve been tapering for days to harness that energy for use in your competition.

9.  Put your “Out of Office” notice up now and respect it. Your email and voice mail should all say something along the lines of ‘Thanks for contacting me. If it’s about an interview please contact my media attaché. If it’s about an event or appearance – I will not be managing any requests until after the Games…Thanks for your support – Go Canada Go!”  It’s in your own best interest if you apply this even to media and others who have always been very friendly and usually have direct contact with you.

Please respect all of your teammates and their schedules. As some of you return from training or competition quite late – others might be having their biggest day of their lives in the morning. Morning people – take the same care for those who nap mid day – before the biggest night of their lives.

Your team is Fierce, Proud, Unstoppable, Stoked and Inspired.

– Again – I’m so excited for you all,



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