Catriona Le Mae Doan experiences at both ends of the Olympic spectrum – the fall at Lillehammer and soaring over everything in Nagano and Salt Lake City – make it a wise choice for driving Canadian athletes to Beijing.
The 49-year-old former speed skater, who has two Olympic golds and a bronze medal, has been selected as a chef de mission in Canada for the 2022 Winter Games. Her eleventh tour of duty will be in the five-episode circus, having attended four as an athlete and five as announcers and served as the chief sports mentor for Team Canada in PyeongChang 2018, little over two years ago.
“I understand how going to games is. « It’s different than anything else, » she said last week from her home in Calgary.. « It’s different from the World Championship, it’s different from the World Cup. There is a different spirit for that. But this is cool and I want athletes to know I’m here for them in whatever way they may be.
“I hope as a leader to be able to help create an environment alongside the rest of the mission team where athletes will be able to perform at their best performance ever. We want to celebrate a record performance. We had that in PyeongChang and hopefully better in Beijing in 2022. However, all you could wish for an athlete is for them to go there well prepared and leave there knowing they had the best performance possible that day..
Canada won a record 29 medals in PyeongChang 2018, continuing a series of successes that began in 2006 with 24 medals in Turin, then 26 in Vancouver in 2010 and 25 in Sochi 2014. For Le May Doan, the experience in Korea was inspiring.
« It was my first time on the mission team, and I was able to help (Head of Mission) Isabel Sharst when I needed, when she was busy. She took on certain roles. I watched it. And I knew leaving PyeongChang was that role that I really wanted.
There is a guiding aspect to the chef’s job and there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the way Le May Doan can provide. The epidemic has already played havoc with the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed by a year to July and August of 2021. When that flame is extinguished, it will only be six months before the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing in February 2022.
The restrictions on travel and gatherings may last until 2021 or even longer, but Lu Mae Duan is nonetheless determined to get to know all the Winter Olympics players in Canada before their arrival in China.. She is eager to share the breadth of knowledge she has gleaned from her rich Olympic experiences and may quote some words of warning.
“I got in with expectations and totally failed. May Doan, who fell within 500 meters in Lillehammer 1994 but came back to win 500 golds in Nagano 1998, told me I went with as much pressure as I could imagine and achieved (medals). Salt Lake City 2002. “There is pressure on you, whether it be through the media, the country or yourself, there is a level of honor and pressure that comes with the games. But there is also this level of pride, wonder, and beauty.
If athletes have the appropriate training, behavior, and mentoring, they can successfully navigate those heightened expectations. Bringing some perspective on that front is also part of the chef’s job.
“I think it goes back to 2010 and I was working with (Giant Skier Jennifer Hale) at the Games, directing it a little bit,” said Lu Mae Duan. She was expected to defend her gold and take the silver medal. I remember she called me half an hour after her performance and said, « I was the best I could be, (American Hannah Kearney) was the best. ».
“In sports, you don’t know what will happen until you cross the finish line, until the game is over, until you go down the hill. But you want to make sure that the athletes are as prepared as possible and have all the support so that, regardless of the outcome, they are the best they can be on that day..
If Le May Doan and her Canada Team Mission team accomplish much in Beijing, it would be a successful Games, regardless of the number of medals.
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Catriona Le Mae Duan, 2022 Winter Olympics, Canada, Winter Olympics
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