When the Olympics actually inspire you…

So yesterday, I thought I’d give the Olympics a shot. Turns out, yesterday was the very last day of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, taking place in 2021. Looks like I missed a lot, including the reason why they can’t call it the 2021 Olympics (shrug). But I’m glad I finally tuned in for more than just Canada’s incredible gold medal victory in Women’s Soccer!! After catching the second half of the men’s marathon on Saturday night, I was glued to my seat (and I never sit), watching Track Cycling, of all things.

Canada had two cyclists still competing at the time – Allison Beveridge in the “Omnium”, and Kelsey Mitchell in the “sprint”. I was absolutely amazed by the tactics…the strategy(!) that goes into the sport. Instantly I was hooked, cheering for Canada and loving the intrigue of the sport and its many outlandish rules. I normally go to bed early, but I simply could not miss Kelsey Mitchell’s gold medal victory in the cycling sprint, beating out this Ukrainian warrior – Olena Starikova – who had a death stare like I’ve never seen before. Then there was the finish to the Omnium, where Allison Beveridge pushed through the pain of dehydration and a lack of beverages, to finish 9th! Honestly, I was amazed, and for the first time ever watching the Olympics, genuinely inspired.

Perhaps you already know this about me, but I am a runner. Back in time, I ran competitively for my high school, making it to OFSAA (along with my team) in four consecutive years out of four. I then ran varsity cross country for the University of Waterloo, posting up a 10km P.B. of 34:20 and a half marathon P.B. in the 1:17 range, before “retiring” due to injury. Nothing outrageous, but very high level, and a very high addiction to the sport. Since 2019, I’ve been running less and less due to niggling injuries and my ever-aching left hamstring. I hadn’t even run over 25km in one sitting since 2019, and not over 30km since the year before. But after watching Kelsey and Allison at the Olympics, I felt like I could fly on my early morning run the very next day. At about the 8km mark, I just decided to go for it and ended up flying through a 30km run, in a comfortable pace, in a comfortable place, and so far the legs and hamstrings are holding up.

I am now genuinely curious, who else has been inspired by Canada’s performances at the 2021 Olympics? Maybe the young girls and women that I work with at Whitecaps London and NorWest, inspired by Canada’s big soccer win. Maybe the Canoers, inspired by Canada’s bronze from Laurence Vincent-Laporte and Katie Vincent! Maybe even the swimmers coming out of London, Ontario (my hometown), after Maggie Mac Neil’s three Olympic medals! I think some men even won medals too! So, while the Olympics have their faults, it is undeniable that they can, even if only momentarily, inspire those watching on. Even a 24-year-old retired runner who forgot the Olympics were on until the very last day.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

2 thoughts on “When the Olympics actually inspire you…

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