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Player's Own Voice
35 minutes | Nov 22, 2022
Aaron Brown thinks fast
Canadian Sprinter Aaron Brown is a quick thinker. Not just in the literal sense- he has perfected physical speed, as befits a World champion 4x 100 relay racer. But every track and field athlete tries to do that. What sets Brown apart is how he analyzes and dissects the entire economic model of high performance sport. For someone who is so ready to reassure that he isn't a radical- a lot of Brown's questions might rattle nerves among the money managers at the peak of the Olympic pyramid. Brown doesn't worry about the superstars, the household names on the track- the athletic 1% has sneaker deals and opportunities aplenty. It's everyone else he sees struggling to make ends meet. One hundredth of a second might make the difference between being famous in the finals, and toiling in the ninth lane, slinging coffee in the off season. Brown's point is that in no other profession do we see only a handful at the apex actually making a living. How might profit sharing work? Brown considers paydays from the loftiest IOC execs, down through the ranks to the athletes and coaches whose labour- to Brown's thinking- has never been fairly rewarded. Brown's ideas get to the heart of track and field as a profession. He recognizes that NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB salaries might be out of reach- but urges track Olympians to consider business models more like golf or tennis, where athletes are well paid, and not entirely dependent on a windfall every four years, when the Olympics roll around. As he makes clear to Anastasia- All the athletes are thinking it. He just happens to be saying it out loud.
44 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
Sorry, not sorry with Kaylyn Kyle.
Kaylyn Kyle has parlayed years of soccer with the Canadian national team and in pro leagues, into a bustling career as a broadcast soccer analyst. What sets Kyle apart isn’t just her deep knowledge of the game and tactics, but her willingness to speak plainly about the issues and players before her. Kyle is not afraid to court controversy, nor to call out poor behaviour when she sees it. She’s brutally honest about the economics of being an NWSL player. And when she argues in favour of a Canadian women’s pro soccer league? Resistance may not be futile, but good luck if you happen to oppose her points of view. All of which makes Kaylyn Kyle an ideal podcast guest. Kaylyn regales Anastasia with tales of an incredibly hardworking mother of two… questions the academic results for preschoolers that she sees in the USA, makes several persuasive points in favour of beginning an athletic career in Saskatchewan, pinpoints the moment in which a lifelong love of playing soccer fizzled into frustration, and then tops it all off with an amusing description of her own not exactly planned dive out of the way of the bronze medal winning goal for Canada in London in 2012. Kyle pushes listeners’ buttons, no question. So if you don’t care for fast-talking, fully-informed, and highly opinionated women, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
30 minutes | Oct 25, 2022
Kurt Browning: figure skating then and now
Here’s the thing that Patrick Chan wants to understand about his fellow figure skater, Kurt Browning… after 45 years on ice, how has Browning managed to stay in love with his sport? Not just stay active in it- because hey, a job’s a job, but stay enamoured with it all? Browning has a one-word answer to the question: Curiosity. Browning can’t help himself, he’s still curious about the next solo, the potential to make an audience feel something, the process of getting tuned up for performances…That, and the pure simple glide of skating, keep him hooked. With the Skate Canada event at October’s end in mind, Anastasia asks Kurt for his assessment of skating now, and looking ahead. The way he sees it- the scoring system rewards skaters for giving the judges what they want, more or less on a silver platter. The downside is, that makes one skater look a bit like another. If anyone deviates too far from the formula, there’s no way they can succeed. So that puts the more creative routines on the endangered list. But the system also encourages very strong technical skating- and the performance aspect has not gone away, so that’s all to the good. Browning loves the ever-increasing global popularity of the sport. He is a big fan of what he sees from Asian skaters, in particular. Looking a little bit ahead, Browning predicts some necessary growing pains. Like many sports, figure skating needs to come to terms with some abusive situations in the past. And he says the sport still needs to tackle cheating- both varieties, pharmaceutical and judging varieties. That’s all part of the maturation process, and he welcomes it.
28 minutes | Oct 18, 2022
Bianca Farella tackles the future.
People always say Sport teaches valuable life lessons. If true, Rugby Sevens stalwart Bianca Farella has earned a doctorate in the last 18 months. Just before the Tokyo Olympics- something like 55% of players and alumni agreed that there were culture and coaching problems at Rugby Canada. Tackling that messy situation was necessary, and a great long-term project, but the timing was awful for the women's team as they prepared for the games. Undergoing cultural upheaval comes at the cost of short term team focus. Canada's Rugby 7s women are stronger and healthier in every sense now, but the upheaval contributed to disappointment in the most recent Summer Olympics. The success the women enjoyed in their Bronze medal debut at Rio was not to be duplicated. The number two in the world scorer of tries did not get there by ignoring the big picture. She is proud of how she and her team have blazed Safe Sport trails for other Canadian federations to follow. After Tokyo, Farella went back to university to finish her undergrad, and started considering other career goals. She thought she was finished playing Rugby… but a new head coach got her back into training… and back on the pitch. Jump ahead a couple of months, and Farella, now fully returned to peak competitive form, comes down with COVID on the eve of flying to the 7s world cup in South Africa. Cheering on teammates from a sick bed , 9 time zones distant is not anybody's idea of a good time. But for Bianca Farella, it is important to persevere through setbacks. An end to competition comes for everyone eventually. For now, one of the fastest athletes in the sport is content to slow down long enough to consider the next steps.
22 minutes | Oct 11, 2022
Summer McIntosh: World champion... keepin' it real in grade 11.
Summer and Brooke McIntosh’s parents have a good problem brewing. October 28 to 30th, Skate Canada International will likely see Brooke figure skating on one side of the Greater Toronto Area, and on the exact same days, Summer will likely be tearing up the pool in World Cup races on the opposite side of town. Scheduling headaches are part of the price to be paid when raising two high performance athletes. Luckily- as Summer makes clear, sibling rivalry will not add fuel to a fraught parental weekend. The McIntosh sisters are fantastically competitive young women, but they are also each other’s biggest boosters. Summer caught up with Anastasia from Florida, where she and her training partners were spared the worst of Hurricane Ian’s destruction. The swimmers have pitched in to help clear downed trees and debris around the pool facilities and community, but in the meantime, it’s 100% back to the business of training for McIntosh. Well, almost 100%. There’s also grade eleven assignments taking up any spare minutes to be had in the long day. Considering her ranking- number three in the world among female swimmers, it’s easy to forget that Summer McIntosh is still just 16 years old. Without harping on her age- because what teen wants to be constantly reminded of their youthfulness? – Anastasia and Summer have a slightly surreal conversation about being an experienced Olympian at the age of 14. You know you are young if you happened to be eight years old when you watched Penny Oleksiak swim in Rio. Now that they are teammates- it’s the older Oleksiak’s turn to be in awe of so much speed in so few years. It’s impossible not to worry a little when we see huge success coming to a young athlete, but as this engaging conversation makes clear- Summer McIntosh is as level-headed as they come. Being the youngest world champion in a decade might really truly only be the beginning for Summer McIntosh. She likes the longer distances…and typically, performances in endurance events only get better with age.
26 minutes | Oct 4, 2022
Becky Sauerbrunn exporting equity
In the ever-expanding universe of Women's Soccer- very few stars shine brighter than the Captain of USA's national team, Becky Sauerbrunn. With more than 200 caps and counting, her contributions on the pitch have filled scores of highlight reels. So it seems strange to say her biggest impact, and likely her most lasting legacy, will be Sauerbrunn's work off the field, largely behind the scenes. Sauerbrunn was one of the original five women who summoned the determination to put their livelihood on the line and go into battle with their employer for equal pay and equitable treatment. This season six debut episode (woot woot!) of Player's Own Voice hears Sauerbunn acknowledge that the six year back-and-forth was a nerve wracking experience. She details how those years were marked by a number of small milestones. The American Men's and Women's national teams were not very close allies at the dispute's outset, back in 2016, but by the time the dust settled, Sauerbrunn says the solidarity with the men's squad was a key to getting deals done. The women players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, seeking damages under the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Three years after that, a $24 million settlement was reached. Pay, though obviously important, is a relatively straightforward issue. Equitable treatment requires a lot more ongoing effort and thought. Coaching, facilities, travel, health care…the areas of discrepancy and unequal treatment extend into so many aspects of the elite athlete's experience. Anastasia asks Sauerbrunn the simple question: what's next? Canadians, take note: For the captain and her like-minded teammates, a goal now is to help spread their know-how and collective bargaining experience to women and sports federations around the world. Starting with their frenemies to the North.
39 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
Rhian Wilkinson: changing the culture, one win at a time
‘Culture’, toxic or otherwise, is invoked almost daily in sports. Like a collective mood, it is easily named but much more difficult to manage- let alone improve. Rhian Wilkinson, the new coach of the Portland Thorns, has managed to do both those things. She inherited a club that had recently endured a blistering abuse scandal. Turning that culture around is an ongoing success story, and it’s by no means the only problematic situation Wilkinson has confronted in her long career. In a wide-ranging chat about her Soccer experiences in England, Wales, Norway, the U.S.A., and here in Canada (as a player on the groundbreaking national teams of 2012 and 2016), Wilkinson shares lessons learned from grassroots to elite teams. Anastasia leads Wilkinson back to England, where the younger player had to deal with boys who never passed the ball to their obviously gifted teammate. The talk moves through her national team years, when some coaching advice brought on uncomfortably necessary introspection. And jumps ahead to where Wilkinson coaches now, at the epicenter of the North American women’s game. Are the Thorns the picture of a healthy team culture? G.M. Karina LeBlanc’s toddler is a regular visitor in the locker room. And there are more team mate’s babies on the way. A distraction in the clubhouse ? Au contraire. The team are defending league champions, and it’s exactly for those little ones that Wilkinson is laying down a winning culture today. Looking closely at the unprecedented international successes for the Canadian men and women’s teams, Wilkinson traces a direct line of winning ways and leadership back a decade to her teammates and then coach John Herdman. She names names- and describes how individuals from the class of 2012 have gone on to change soccer culture (there’s that word again- and she does not use it casually) for the better, wherever they landed. It’s the last podcast of a double season- two Olympics in the same year will do that! Anastasia is recharging her audio recording gear and POV will be back later in the summer.
27 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
Amber Balcaen at 300kph
NASCAR drivers generally have a lot in common. For starters, they are overwhelmingly American, male, and coming from seriously wealthy backgrounds. Winnipeg's own Amber Balcaen has got her 'outsider' bases covered. As the only Canadian racing full time on the NASCAR circuit, she's overcoming challenges left, right and centre. Luckily, Balcaen is used to fighting for what she wants.Her background in Canadian dirt track racing only allowed her to drive a few months a year, while her competition in the southern USA enjoyed tracks that were open year-round. Sponsorship, the keys to the castle in this incredibly expensive sport, doesn't come easy for a Canadian either. Why would a Canadian company get behind a sport that is overwhelmingly popular in the USA, but hit and miss north of the 49th? And why would Americans put money behind a Canadian racer? That's where Balcaen's business background, and limitless hustle, made the difference. She noticed that race tracks were always ringed with RVs full of fans, so she started building a business case around that, then courted a Canadian-based, North American firm making RV parts. A winning partnership was formed, and she's racing in a custom red and white rocket to prove it. As a woman among Good Ole Boys, nothing came easy for Balcaen. She had to win respect the only way you can in racing: weekend after weekend of high finishes, quality performances, and fearless competition. Everybody loves an underdog story. The only trouble there is she's so fast on the track that the 'underdog' label doesn't fit the bill anymore. Despite focusing on her race this Saturday at the super speedway in Talledega, Balcaen found time with Anastasia to talk about her unlikely journey from Maniitoba dirt tracks to the heartland of American racing.
28 minutes | Mar 24, 2022
Cynthia Appiah Takes the Reins
The more public the troubles at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton become, the less easy they are to nail down. More than seventy athletes are calling for a leadership overhaul, amid complaints of ‘toxic culture’ and a serious breakdown in trust and respect between the people who actually do the high speed, high danger sports, and the people who coach, train, manage, repair, and organize on their behalf. There may be more issues than any one athlete can fairly decode, but Canadian Monobob and two-woman pilot, Cynthia Appiah, does her level best. Safety and concussion protocols are part of the contention. Many internal management decisions are stirring resent. Resources appear to be allocated based on criteria that athletes find opaque. Appiah is often asked to comment on these disputes, and she is vocal about doing so, but at the same time, she worries that speaking out might limit her career. With the Beijing Olympics in fresh hindsight, Appiah is certain about a few things. She is much happier with her two woman Olympic performance than her monobob runs, even though she finished a very respectable sixth in both events. She is all-in for the next four years of intense work towards the 2026 Olympics. She is refreshingly open-minded about her strengths and areas needing improvement as a team leader. And she is as balanced as anyone could possibly be in recognizing her role as a BIPOC leader in winter sport. The challenge that Appiah sees is not just about attracting new, diverse people into the sliding sports, but in making sure that once athletes do commit, they don’t bump against glass ceilings. As Appiah says to Anastasia – she’s not just there to represent, she’s there to win.
37 minutes | Mar 17, 2022
Back on track with Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu
Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu has one heck of a backstory. He was a teen prodigy. A top-ranked world junior speed skater in both long and short track, which is extremely rare. He simply loved skating- and he had his own, happy, idiosyncratic ways that served him well. He was the kind of kid who'd warm up on a unicycle, instead of the usual stationary bike. But a new coaching regime stole all the joy from his sport, and his workouts strayed far into abusive territory. Physical injury from overtraining met mental breakdown in a perfect- but not perfectly understood- storm. At twenty he was broken and beaten and done with racing. Four years away from the sport- travelling, tending bar, anything but skating- began to recharge the batteries, and then a coincidental meeting with another 'outsider' talent, Steve Robillard, lit the comeback fuse. Robillard encouraged Gélinas-Beaulieu to get into coaching, and that slowly rekindled his own love of the game. As he tells Anastasia, it's all about the joy of skating again. Gélinas-Beaulieu determines his own workout regime for the most part, and he revels in helping encourage young skaters, and he is already rubbing his hands in anticipation of the next winter Olympics -Milano Cortina 2026.
28 minutes | Mar 7, 2022
Living with Loss: Dina Bell-Laroche, athletic grief counsellor
After years of working on communications for high performance sports, Dina Bell-Laroche has witnessed many extremes of emotion. But the moment that altered her career forever was the death of her sister, nearly twenty years ago. The grief and her experience in sport combined for Bell-Laroche and led her to coaching and councelling athletes who are dealing with loss in its many forms. With national athletes enduring the Post Olympic Blues right now, the time is fitting for some clear thinking about how we process setbacks and loss in sports. Part of the goal is to get rid of myths. Grief is not the exclusive privilege of people who have had a death in the family. For athletes, bereavement can flow from a big loss, naturally, but it can also accumulate slowly and creep up on competitors. After a career devoted to sport- retirement can churn up many underexamined disappointments and losses, too. The trouble starts when sports rewards a stoic approach. Shake it off. There’ll be another game. Focus on getting that next win. These attitudes mean well, but they can push athletes into traumatizing silence. Bell -Laroche’s discipline is Thanatology. The study of grief and death. The ancient Greeks, who knew a thing or two about tragedy, said there are only two themes: Eros and Thanatos. Love and Death. Bell- Laroche would argue they are inextricably linked. We only mourn losing what we love. And that can include a dashed dream of Olympic glory.
13 minutes | Feb 20, 2022
Brad Gushue Saves Bronze
Brad Gushue held 40 pounds of granite in one hand, and in the other, the distinct possibility that Canada would leave Beijing without a single curling medal for the first time since the sport was introduced to the Olympic games in 1998. As it happens, the granite hung lighter in the balance. The skip of the Canadian team delivered a shot that locked up a Bronze medal, exactly 16 years after his golden performance in Turin. For Gushue, this Bronze is almost more a source of pride than the 2006 Championship. He tells Anastasia that there are some weeks you have it and some weeks you don't. Everything clicked in Turin, and very little was working for the team here in Beijing. "That's why it can't always be about just winning. It has to be about the experience, about the journey, about the challenges you overcome. And we overcame a lot this week to get to where we are right now." Gushue is a thoughtful athlete- and with the deliberate tempo of curling, that is not always a good thing. Some sports, your fast reactions will carry the day. On the curling sheets, there's plenty of time for an active mind to worry its way into jams. But students of the game could see it happening in Beijing: Gushue harnessed his years of mindfulness work, parked the unhelpful considerations, and made the most difficult situations look manageable.
12 minutes | Feb 17, 2022
Charles Hamelin’s golden goodbye
Charles Hamelin knows how to conduct an Olympic Career. Medal at your first games. Keep medaling and staying strong for sixteen more years. Somewhere in the middle of all that, give Canadians a warm fuzzy moment by celebrating a win with a rinkside kiss. Save the best win for the last appearance. In his final skate, the short track G.O.A.T. bagged one last Olympic gold medal. There are only three other Canadians with four gold medals. There is only one other Canadian Winter Olympian, long track legend Cindy Klassen, tied with Hamelin at six medals. If anybody’s counting, at 37 years old, Hamelin is also the oldest man to medal in short track. On that matter, career longevity, Hamelin credits his dad Yves, with building the base of the pyramid on which a sturdy long career rested. Charles and his brother Francois benefitted from a multi sport childhood. He tells Anastasia that the two brothers always had the choice: train hard, or relax with buddies. Hamelin admits he is still working on that ‘relax with buddies’ thing, but that’s his choice. Hamelin has now delivered sport’s most elusive commodity, the story book finish. But there may be a capper coming. Hamelin is heading back to Montreal for his final world cup competition in March. He has 142 world cup medals in the trophy room already. But the last race in front of a hometown crowd? With the Olympic champion team alongside him? Better save some space on the last page of that story book.
32 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
Greg Westlake: Para Hockey's Iron man and Spokesman
Greg Westlake is both ironman and spokesman for para Hockey. Ironman because these are his fifth Paralympic games, and he remains remarkably fit and injury free despite his long and storied career. Spokesman because his ideas and involvement with para sport are only getting more persuasive with each passing year. For Westlake, it’s all about knowing your worth, and not being shy to demand it. The forward is frank about where he takes his inspiration for the future of para hockey. The NHL experience does not speak to him. Parathletes do not weigh 50 million dollar, 5 year contracts. For Westlake, its more Cheryl Pounder or Hayley Wickenheiser whose models he follows. Those women depended on carding money to stay in the game…and they had to fight to get their due respect. Women athletes had to push for equal facilities, equal training, coaching, equal nutrition…just as disabled athletes have had to do. Westlake draws another parallel for Anastasia to consider: there are still small pockets of, (his word) ignorant people who don’t believe women athletes deserve our attention or respect. And disabled athletes know that battle too. But with the benefit of 20 years in the game, Westlake can offer this very encouraging assessment- he says para athletes are fitter and younger than ever before. And for that, proper investment by national sporting organizations gets the credit. The Beijing Paralympic games begin Friday March 4th. You don’t need reasons to watch, but a few minutes in Westlake’s company will provide you with a tonne of them
27 minutes | Feb 13, 2022
Elladj Baldé sees the future of skating
When figure skater Elladj Baldé started sharing videos of himself having a ball, skating on frozen lakes, the response almost overwhelmed him. Tens of millions of views piled in…making Baldé quickly realize that he had a responsibility to put this unnervingly powerful new tool to good use. Retired from competition, but more engaged than ever in the wide world of skating, Baldé has become an icon of inclusion. His video music choices are a revelation. Skipping through the old idea that light classical music is the only possible soundtrack for skating, Baldé sees other structures and strictures beginning to fall away too. Clothing, culture, new ideas about who gets to participate in figure skating, Balde's experience has helped young BIPOC athletes see themselves in winter sport like never before. Baldé comes to talk Olympic figure skating, of course. He is CBC Sport's Mix Zone reporter for Beijing. But it's helpful to know that along with being a scholar of the sport, he brings perspective as cofounder of the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance. Baldé is happy to report that at these games he can see Figure skating moving far beyond its overwhelmingly European early days. So- Baldé has props for Donovan Carrillo, the Mexican skater. Not just for how the man performs, but also because now " A young Latin kid can watch a Latin man skate to Latin music and say, ' I can do that too.'" As Baldé sees it, just because Figure Skating represents some of the oldest traditions in winter sport, doesn't mean it can't be home to some of the newest traditions either.
15 minutes | Feb 12, 2022
Keegan Messing skates for his brother
Even by Beijing 2022 standards, Keegan Messing faced a tense obstacle course to get to the games. A positive covid test result just before 'go time' threatened to undo four years of practice and planning. He rocketed into Beijing, having flown the long way round the world to get there, too late for his beloved team figure skate event, and just barely in time for his solo routines. But when he hit the ice, exhausted, jet lagged, and disoriented, somehow he also pulled some Olympic magic out of the bag. Judges, fans, even Messing agreed- his short program was the best he has done in competition, all season long. Anastasia asks Keegan how he pulled that off...and his answer is an honest one: "I'm still trying to figure out how I did it too, because I've had shorter trips and not been able to recover from jetlag. I think there is a bit of adrenaline. I think there's a bit of mental preparation... I kept my mind super positive and understanding that you, you will not feel like yourself here. So I just followed the plan took one thing at a time and I really wasn't given a chance to think. So I just acted, and it worked." Messing did his best in his brother's name at the Beijing Olympics. Paxon Messing was a high ranked snowboarder, who died in an Anchorage Alaska motorcycle crash in 2019. It has been an emotional roller coaster in the Messing house... a few short months ago, Keegan and his wife Lane Hodson welcomed their new baby boy Wyatt into the world.
22 minutes | Feb 10, 2022
Mark McMorris: relaxed and ready
Considering Mark McMorris' medical history, it's no surprise he jokes about enjoying rare time off between surgeries. It takes another beat to process his comparisons with teammate Max Parrot's recovery from cancer. But that is the unlikely reality: Two guys, buddies on the same team, both at death's door not so long ago… both on the podium in Beijing. You either laugh or cry at life's twists and turns. And McMorris isn't crying. Not everybody can claim a podium every time their sport has been contested in the Olympics. McMorris can: Three Bronze medals in a row. And not everybody at the age of 28 can speak as an elder statesman in their profession. McMorris can do that too. Midway through McMorris' Beijing games (Big Air qualifying begins Monday) Anastasia gives her fellow prairie pal a break from the high octane technical questions. You want to know what's really on McMorris mind at this moment? A whole bunch of music, plenty of love for his home team, respect for the creativity in other people's TikToks, even when he's on the butt end of a meme…and the puzzling appearance of Skateboarder Paul Rodriguez Nikes on the feet of American curler Matthew Hamilton. McMorris loves that. His summary of the situation? It's all sports, It's all good.
13 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
All Aboard with Laurie Blouin
Picture two radically different sports. Snowboarding and Golf, for example. Nothing in common, you say? Laurie Blouin might persuade you otherwise. When she's doing her Slopestyle or Big Air events- flying and spinning at stomach-lurching speed and altitude, stomping the touch down- she says that's the very same feeling she gets when a round of golf comes together on the links. Mortal athletes are saying "Really? Corkscrewing through the air at 50 kph…that's like nailing a 7 iron?" Blouin clarifies: It's a mental thing, in the quantitative sense. As she tells Anastasia, it's all about doing just the right amount of thinking. Not being relaxed and absent, and definitely not overthinking the process. Just hitting that mental sweet spot. Blouin knows what she knows. She's already got the Silver medal from PyeongChang to prove it. Fresh off an agonizing fourth place finish in Slope Style, Blouin has the balanced attitude in the bag as she waits for next weekend's Big Air to begin. She's proud of her opening event performance but a little disappointed to miss the medals. And that's just about the right amount of thinking to do at this point. So now it's on to part two of Blouin's mission in Beijing. She's keeping herself safe, relaxed, and ready to soar. Negative tests, positive attitude.
15 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
Lisa Weagle and tick talk
Here’s how life works for Lisa Weagle, a curler at the pinnacle of her sport: Sometimes she’s the lead, and an undisputed force in that capacity. And sometimes she’s an alternate, as she happens to be for Jennifer Jones’ team right now at the Beijing Olympics. And for Weagle, you better believe, there is no difference in the approach or commitment, whichever role she lands. The fifth member of Jones’ powerhouse crew, along with Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyne Peterman, and Dawn McEwen, Weagle has got the benefit of previous Olympic experience under her belt. So she’s loving her time in Beijing, but she’s also got a healthy perspective on the twists and turns of Olympic fate. “At the closing ceremony at Pyeongchang, I looked around and noticed how few athletes actually had medals, and I felt like such a failure. But looking around, I was like, Well, I don't think they're all failures, so why am I putting that on myself?” As to the international competition: Anastasia questions the old wisdom among Canadian curlers, that it’s almost harder to qualify for the Olympics than it is to actually take on the world. Weagle agrees that thinking is becoming less accurate with each passing year. In Weagle’s view, there is so much talent curling in Beijing right now, they could run the tournament three times and have three different teams wearing the medals when the sheets go quiet. Control the controlables, as they always say, and meantime, rest assured…the alternate Weagle is ready to throw some of her trademark ‘ticks’ at a moment’s notice.
26 minutes | Feb 6, 2022
Kelsey Mitchell visualizes victory
Just as the Beijing Winter Olympic competition was getting underway, Anastasia pedaled up alongside Canada’s most recent Olympic medallist- track Cyclist Kelsey Mitchell. Her golden ride was the final capping glory on Canada’s Tokyo campaign. Olympians, regardless of winter or summer specialization, can always learn from one another. So Anastasia tapped Mitchell for insights and advice on getting into medal contention. Mitchell’s trip to the top followed an unusual course. She had barely pedaled a bike two years before Tokyo when the track team brought her into the fold, straight from an RBC training ground tryout. So there certainly wasn’t any ten year master plan to look back on. Mitchell, like many athletes, is evidence that Visualisation works. In fact- she couldn’t help herself, vivid images of being decorated with the gold medal would occur to her at all hours of the day and night. She almost had to work at NOT visualizing. Mitchell also confides that the oldest advice in the game really worked for her. Trust the process. Trust your training. Do the work and have confidence in your training. That way- when life throws curve balls- a week before her Olympic race, Mitchell came down with a cold- an athlete doesn’t need to panic. Coughs will cease, noses will stop running, and a lifetime- or at least a couple of years- of hard work will take over from there.
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