Be Extraordinary – Western Alumni Gazette – A chat with Marnie

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A chat with Marnie about Performance and Winning

by Jason Winders, MES’16, PhD’16 | October 13, 2017

One of the most decorated athletes in Canadian history – most notably as a three-time Olympic gold medalist – Marnie McBean, BA’97, LLD’03, shares what she learned from a life on the water at Western and beyond.

My ultimate thing was not to win, but to get better. Getting better all the time meant attention to detail, to learning, to figuring things out. And all that – that attention to things – took care of winning.

I was not a star athlete. I always made teams. But I was never the star. I was not a scorer or a playmaker. I was a grinder who moved things along. But I have come to understand that everyone is excellent at something; it is the lucky few who find what that is.

I had great water feel. I wasn’t a great rower at the beginning, but somebody saw something about me on the water. And that was me – it was being on the water, how rowing boats moved, knowing how a team moved together. I loved it from the first day.

Get a feel for your water. I cannot hit a three-pointer. I don’t have that kind of coordination. But I have water feel.

When you find that thing you are great at, it is easy to put time into it. It will always feel like a choice. It will always feel like you are choosing to be more. Continue reading

London 2012 : Marnie McBean still pulling hard for Canada

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Marnie McBean mentors many Canadian Athletes like boxer Mary Spencer

Toronto Star article, by Dave Peschuk, published July 11, 2012

In the nearly 20 years since Marnie McBean struck double rowing gold at the Barcelona Olympics, she has cycled in Tuscany, written a book, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (twice) and introduced herself to Sidney Crosby as the border collie of the Canadian Olympic team.

The latter achievement came in Vancouver in 2010, when McBean was fulfilling her ongoing role as a mentor to Canada’s Olympians. It was Day 4 of the Games. Canada’s Mike Robertson had just won silver in snowboard cross and was heading back to the athletes’ village.

McBean wanted Robertson to return to a well-populated celebration in the village’s main lobby. Ever the brash extrovert, she began corralling athletes into an elevator en route.

“The elevator happened to stop on the men’s hockey floor. And suddenly, there’s Sidney Crosby and a few of his teammates standing in front of us,” McBean said. “The elevator was pretty full and they weren’t going to get in. I was like, ‘Get in.’ And they’re looking at me. And I’m like, ‘No, just get in.’ Continue reading