On the doorstep! | À la porte des Jeux!

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July 1,  Canada Day!!  2021

First off, it is impossible for me to cheer for Canada and not also cry for Canada. I write that as a fiercely proud Canadian, who acknowledges that we must face mistakes in our past, including the settler role and its horrific impact on Indigenous peoples. The discovery of more children, taken from their families and treated like this is heartbreaking – we need to do more. I promise to learn and do more, including reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission summary and recommendations, especially recommendations 87 to 91 about what we, in the sport world, can do. 

Soon enough (if not already!) you will be arriving in Japan and then moving into your Olympic accommodation. For me, as an athlete, this was a time when I would have to remember to adjust my critical lens…moving the focus from competence to confidence; in part, this helped me win my four Olympic medals. In a previous message I wrote a caution regarding our laser focus on our ‘To-Do list’ at the expense of awareness of our ‘Done List’. At that time, I positioned that awareness as a tool to support our mental health. Now – it’s a strategy for your high performance. I’ll tell you how…  

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8 more Tuesdays | Huit autres mardis

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8 more Tuesdays!       (Exciting? Scary? Both!!!)

A funny thing happened the other day…the media started writing articles about the heat in Tokyo. Finally! We’re back to talking about the heat!

While there is still more to be done between now and the start of your Olympic competition, we are all getting down to the fine-tuning. You have put in a TREMENDOUS effort and the volume and quality of the work done are extraordinary.

Don’t worry if it seems that you are running out of time – that feeling is normal. Even with all the changes to the original plan, you’ve been following a plan. Trust it. Keep at it. You’re closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be daily.

Here is an excerpt from my book that I think applies,

“To achieve more, critical analysis is essential. We analyze how we are doing so that we can adjust and correct as necessary. Athletes and performers can become hypercritical of their training because they are striving for the perfect performance, and in some ways – it’s just not possible to achieve.

If you ask athletes right after their competition how it went, they will likely give you a list of things, however obvious or minute, that they would like to have done better. It’s not very often that they will tell you all the things that they did right; that’s just the nature of the beast.

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Moving forward every day. | Aller de l’avant chaque jour.

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As I said in my last message, Olympic things are happening every day. Updated versions of the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks have recently been posted, some competitions are happening and, yes, some are being rescheduled or cancelled. However circuitous the route, I know that we are all doing everything we can to learn/adapt to change as needed, as we move closer to our goals every day.
In the media and online, we see great things and some set-backs from our Team Canada peers around the world. Please know that our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mike Wilkinson, is collecting information from these events/teams/athletes and passing along best practices and pitfalls to your NSO.
I would recommend that you have a look at the updated Tokyo 2020 Athlete Playbook. Examples of what you’ll see in this version include a more specific definition of what a close contact is, as well as the protocol for if you become a close contact of someone with a positive test (let’s hope this doesn’t happen, but let’s be informed in case it does.) The Playbook instructs that you should expect to be tested daily (currently a saliva antigen test) while in Tokyo. It might be a bit of a bummer that if you win a medal you’ll have to wear a mask on the podium, but consider this…YOU WON A MEDAL!!! (at the Olympics that weren’t cancelled!) ☺
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee isn’t the only group creating plans to keep you safe. With an eye on maintaining the safest and highest quality of support and service to you, Team Canada’s Mission Team – the group of people who work or volunteer to support you at Games (Health Services Team, Outfitting, Transportation, Accommodation, Communications, Logistics, Sport Services, etc) – has streamlined our Tokyo presence quite a bit. The goal is to minimize the number of people around you who aren’t directly involved in sport performance. For example, in my own “Office of the Chef de Mission” some people I count on will be assisting me from New Brunswick (on Japan time!). We will have many essential Mission Team members working from Canada. 

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

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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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