As athletes compete in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games, Team Canada is already making their presence known on the podium.
For the past two years, Olympians have been faced with gruelling pandemic-affected training sessions that have changed intermittently, raising concerns for qualifying teams. With closed gyms and capacity restrictions, athletes have been forced to adapt. In order to do so, they’ve taken creative approaches to pivot their training regimes accordingly.
Our Digital Editor, David Stol, interviewed Team Canada’s Chief Brand and Commercial Officer, Jacquie Ryan, about the reemergence of Team Canada this winter. Ryan offered intel on Team Canada and what drives them to succeed as they take on Beijing at full force.
“March  was when we made the difficult decision not to send the team to the games,” she reminisces. “That decision was entirely driven by the need to protect the health and safety of our athletes. Interestingly enough, this worked to leverage the platform of Team Canada, giving our athletes the opportunity to tell their stories about how they made the difficult decision to stay back because of COVID-19.”
By staying home, Team Canada athletes were setting the foundation for what would ultimately help lead the country during such a tumultuous time. Despite dreams being interrupted by COVID-19, Team Canada and its athletes defied odds among their global competition, exuding sportsmanship by choosing health and safety over an Olympic victory.
“By offering our channels up to athletes, we’re able to amplify their voices. We feel good that we can inspire Canadians by talking about the social issues that are important to them,” says Ryan.
Of course, the rationale for responsibly stepping back from the competition two years ago was so that Team Canada could eventually return at full strength, something it hopes to accomplish this month. Olympics Reporter Devin Heroux reported that 215 Canadian athletes are competing in Beijing, with 106 of them being females. This is reportedly the most-ever in Canadian Winter Olympic history, which is sure to set the tone for years to follow.
Leading up to the Olympics, Team Canada carefully selected eight athletes to participate in its promotional campaign. Titled “Glory From Anywhere,” the mini-video pays homage to the journey to the games, as well as the sacrifices that athletes have made —and continue to make— in order to pursue their dreams.
“Profiling Canadian athletes does a great job of inspiring Canadians,” says Ryan. “When we were making our selections, we were looking [to select individuals] who represent the diversity of our country and who have stories that portray the notion of powering through with resilience.”
Although intense COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, Team Canada hopes to rediscover its stride some wins and lead the country to victory, while staying safe in the process.
“[For Team Canada], we’ve realized that focus matters. The pandemic validated that for us — by focusing our purpose to transform Canada through the power of sport, we can be a voice, we can be inspiring,” says Ryan. “As you focus on your purpose, you’ll drive meaningful change.”
Ryan explains that as we move forward and emerge from the pandemic, Team Canada is already mentally preparing for the upcoming Olympics: Paris (2024), Milan (2026), Los Angeles (2028). By staying focused, the athletes only grow stronger, both as a team and with their country.