Thursday, October 22, 2009

sick AND tired

The one thing I hate more than anything is being sick. I can handle being tired.....I can handle being exhausted.....honestly I can even handle walking around like a zombie as long as I'm healthy. My immune system has never been amazing, but I would never get beyond that kind of uncomfortable cold thing. I will do whatever I can to avoid being bed ridden. Staying in bed all day when you're just having one of those incredibly lazy, I'm going to watch movies, and not get out of my pjs day is one thing. Feeling so awful you can't even sleep when you're stuck in bed is completely another.

Two weeks ago I got more sick than I've been in years. My whole body ached, I couldn't even lift my head and I was completely out of commission. I had just gotten back from Vancouver, hadn't even seen my roommate and I did not come out of my room for about 36 hours. It was so bad that yes at 22 years old I called my mom to come and make sure I was ok. I had no groceries (as always), nothing even to drink besides water and was so incapacitated that my mom came all the way downtown to make me feel better. Feeling like I was 12 again was possibly the funniest thing ever, but I absolutely loved it. Lately I've been so independent and off doing my own thing, feeling invincible as I like to think I am, that I forget what it feels like to have someone take care of me. To be honest, I like to believe that I don't need anyone to take care of me. I don't know where that comes from...could be from being surrounded by such strong women. Whatever it is, I finally let myself ask for help and it felt good. After some good Orlando loving I was thankfully back to normal.

So you can imagine how upset I was when yesterday I was losing my voice and started to feel a little under the weather. I tried to ignore it and blame it on over working myself, etc. etc. BUT this morning I woke up with a crazy high fever. I AM SICK AGAIN! I am so sick and tired of this. What are the odds of getting so sick again in less than two weeks? I was not impressed that I had to cancel my plans and stay inside all day....again. I have so much work to do (school and work work) that I can't afford to take a day off....which is exactly what I had to do. I'm mad that my body is not as strong as I want it to be. I'm mad that I'm sitting here feeling awful when I could be out doing a million things.

So beyond frustrated right now.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Power in Sport

Instead of writing up a summary of the AthletesCAN Forum and sending it out to the Gymnastics Community, I thought of something better. My teammate Lauren Adolph, one very passionate young woman, wrote about her experience at Forum to help inspire our athletes. As their athlete rep, I feel like I'm always sending out emails to them, but coming from a recently retired teammate of theirs it might make more of an impact. I absolutely loved her letter and hope you all do too....

To all Members of the Canadian Gymnastics National Team,

Last weekend I attended the most amazing and life-altering event of my life! Now, I know that’s a cliché and you’re probably thinking, “well, she’s a bit over the top,” (those who know me would probably add that I easily leap to such dramatics when confronted by sport intermingled with inspiration). This week has been nonstop “Oh Lauren, how was your weekend? What did you do again?” So then I’d explain, but some audiences just didn’t get it. This weekend, I think I could say with some certainty that the name of the game (no pun intended) was “How to affect real change.” So you can imagine the response I got from those who were, let’s say, “youthfully challenged.” I am coming to the sad realization that the word ‘change’ is stolen on one’s 30th birthday and there are only a handful of people willing to fight for it back. So now that I have confessed my bias on the subject, I would like to recount just the facts (without embellishment) so you can see for yourself. So here is my ode to AthletesCAN Forum 2009.

Each morning started with an hour of yoga and went right into an amazing (oh, sorry no adjectives) breakfast. We then entered the Delta Hotel Richmond’s ballroom where we began a day of super fascinating presentations. The first speaker was the President of AthletesCAN, who answered my burning question: “What is AthletesCAN?” It is the only independent organization that represents senior national team athletes across Canada. They are the people, who have brought you the Bell Mobility cell phone plan, Sport Solutions (free legal representation for sport related issues), and a strong voice with such organizations as CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport – you’ll know these folks intimately if you’ve ever had to pee in a cup?), and Sport Canada. They are willing to take the blunt end of any argument with GCG that might otherwise cause you, as a current national team member, severely negative political repercussions. They are full of information on issues relevant to you – including the latest anti-doping laws and carding rules – and how AthletesCAN has a voice in funding policy. After three years on National Team, I had never heard of AthletesCAN nor realized what a great resource it could be; thanks to Alex Orlando, who currently serves on the AthletesCAN board, for enlightening me and now you.

We heard next from a panel of three outstanding speakers. All shared their stories of how, as an elite athlete, they learned to survive, find a balanced life, and succeed in retirement. To my utter joy these speakers, no matter their sports background, were repeating my life’s journey, but with the added wisdom I would have died for during my career. It is also worth noting that these people I had so much in common with were Olympic athletes… gold medal Olympic athletes…three time Olympic athletes… and our own Alexandra Orlando. I’m not sure how much more amazing one weekend can be, but there was more.

Then our afternoon was filled with workshops directly aimed at improving the efficiency of National Athlete Representatives. Problems discussed were insufficient on ineffective athlete representation on National Sports Organizations (NSOs) Boards; in many cases where athlete reps are members of NSO Boards, their opinions are ignored, as their presence is seen as purely symbolic.

We would sit around roundtables, diligently compiling practical life strategies for making headway with our power hungry Boards. And I would glance at all the right hands scribbling notes or tapping thoughtfully, when I noticed 90 percent of those hands were wearing a heavy gold ring embossed with the Olympic rings.

So this is what I got out of my weekend (besides being awe-inspired by these giants of sport): I believe in the power of sport. I learned that sport can change our health, our communities, the way we connect with each other; sport develops forward-thinking leaders, promotes responsible citizenry, prevents crime, inspires kids to think more, dream more, be more. In the words of one of the participants, a Paralympic gold-medal swimmer, “It is our responsibility as elite athletes to dare youth to be fearless to dream.”

My hope is to inspire you to believe that real change is possible. Through utilizing your athlete rep and AthletesCAN – who only exist to serve you – you can have a voice. Only you know what’s relevant. Otherwise, it’s like having a new Ferrari F430 in the garage, but no map. You can roar around the block a few times, make lots of noise to impress the neighbours, but you never really get anywhere.

I share this with you in the hope that you speak up, share your challenges and concerns, and are ultimately free to focus on what an elite athlete should: training hard, staying healthy and reaching your goals.

Lauren Adolph
Retired Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team Member
“I believe in the power of sport”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Canadian Club

A few weeks ago I received these emails about this event at the prestigious Canadian Club and marked it in my calendar. I really wanted to go because I thought it was a really great idea on behalf of the Pan Am Bid. The Canadian Club of Toronto will host a discussion about the benefits of holding the Pan / Parapan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 led by a panel consisting of David Peterson, Chair, Toronto 2015 Pam Am Games Bid, Chris Rudge, Secretary General and CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and Jagoda Pike, President and COO of the Toronto 2015 Bid. The discussion will be moderated by legendary Canadian rower and Olympian Marnie McBean.

So I got my ticket and I was really looking forward to hearing what the panel had to say. Two days before the event, Jagoda had to fly down to Ecuador leaving the Bid in a tight spot. I got a call from Bob Richardson, who is the communications and PR mastermind for us, and was asked to fill in. I of course couldn't say no, this was one of the biggest opportunities that I've ever had come my way. I was excited, nervous, but ready to speak my mind in front of a roomful of people that would be hanging on our every word. This was so important and I couldn't believe that I was going to be up there.

The event was yesterday and it went so well. I spoke from the heart, with passion, and that's all I can do. It was amazing and I hope people caught it on the Rogers Channel (it will be replayed throughout this week!).

Check out this article and VIDEO of the panel at the Canadian Club of Toronto yesterday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Commonwealth Games Canada Announces Delhi 2010 Mission Staff

OTTAWA, Oct. 8, 2009 – Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) today announced its Mission Staff for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, India, October 3-14, 2010 – and celebrated the commitment to sport of its motivated volunteers.

“This outstanding group will help us create the right conditions for Canadian athletes and coaches to produce best-ever performances,” said Scott Stevenson, CGC’s Director of Sport. “The Commonwealth Games are a proven, valuable stepping-stone for many Canadian athletes en route to other international, Olympic and Paralympic success.”

The Games will feature more than 4,000 world-class athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories, competing in 19 different sports. Canada, which finished third overall at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia, is expected to send a highly competitive team of approximately 400 athletes, coaches, and volunteers.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth Games Canada leadership team, we are delighted with the selection of these capable Canadians to our team,” said Martha Deacon, Chef de Mission for Team Canada 2010. “A year from now, their passion and enthusiasm will contribute in countless ways to the success of our world-class athletes.”

The Mission Staff will work under the guidance of the Mission Team Leaders, whose appointment was announced in April 2009. Chef de mission Martha Deacon, named in November 2008, will head the team.

“Every time Canada mounts a mission to a major Games, the demands and expectations increase,” said Greg Mathieu, Chief Executive Officer of Cycling Canada. “This Mission Staff has the capacity, energy and experience necessary to ensure Canada’s team in New Delhi has the highest level of support which is reassuring to each National Sport Organization participating in these Games.”

Joanne Mortimore, Chief Executive Officer of Athletics Canada, added: “It is reassuring to see the Mission Staff who have been appointed to 2010 Games. The group clearly has the skills to create the best environment for the team to compete at their best in Delhi.”

Mission Staff for the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Operations: Martin Routhier and Anne Warburton (Administration), Jim Bradley and Yvonne Bierman (Transportation); Sue Boreskie and Suzanne Weckend (Clothing); Shravan Chopra (Technology and Webmaster)

Team Member Support and Services: Todd Allison, Monique Allain, ALEXANDRA ORLANDO :)

Communications: Yan Huckendubler, Patrick Kenny, Martin Richard, Julie Audette, Hélène Lavigne (Translator), Dan Galbraith (Photographer)

Coaching and Applied Sport Science: Lisa Smith, Michel LeBlanc, Shelley Milton

Mission Team Leaders for the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Dr. Jon Kolb – Coaching and Applied Sport Science
Dr. Navin Prasad – Health and Wellbeing (Medical)
Kelly Laframboise – Team Operations
Jackie DeSouza – Communications and Media Services
Michael Smith – Team Member Support and Services

RyanDan Concert

One of my closest friends and my miracle healer during all those hard years of injuries, Farhan Dhalla, gave me the greatest surprise recently. A year ago he gave me this incredible CD for Christmas that really touched my soul. When I first heard RyanDan, I was mesmerised by the power and beauty of their voices. Their lyrics are so real and genuine, I felt an instant connection. Whenever life got too much to handle and I needed a quick break from reality I would turn to them. Closing the blinds in my room, blasting RyanDan and curling up with a blanket was my go-to stress reliever technique. When I found out he got us tickets to their concert in Richmond Hill I was ecstatic! To make the evening that much better, Farhan hooked us up with a meet and greet before the show with Ryan and Dan! We were both so nervous it was hilarious. I was definitely a little star struck, but they were so down to earth and approachable. You never would have known that they were about to go out and sing for hundreds of people. It was an amazing evening. We sat in the 2nd row and could feel the vibrations of the music running through us. Honestly, it was hard not to cry at one point. I just became flooded with emotions. I don't know if it was the lyrics or their voices or just dealing with a lot lately and needed a release, but whatever it was it was an amazing night. Thank you so much Farhan, I owe you more than you know.

Much love

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The International Olympic Academy

It is so difficult to try and put into words what I experienced at this year’s International Olympic Academy. There are so many moments and emotions that I wish could be conveyed to you in words, but it is indescribable. I really did not know what to expect as I got on the plane to Greece this June. The IOA far exceeded any expectations I had. I can’t thank the Canadian Olympic Committee enough for selecting me out of so many deserving candidates. I am so fortunate to have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My IOA experience taught me so much about myself and what I value most in life. As a Canadian and a competitive athlete, I can honestly say that I have never been exposed to an Olympic Education program. I knew what the Olympic Movement was, but I didn’t know how it touched the lives of other Canadians and what institutions were in place to keep it moving forward. The IOA showed me the type of programs that are in place all over the world that inspire me to help improve our own Canadian Olympic Education. I learned how passionate I am about this particular field and that I believe in Olympism as a way of life. I learned that it is not just about sports, but so much more. Olympism is a way to improve all humanity and helping to achieve a peaceful more unified world. I came home with a new outlook on life and the values that I hold. I learned how important Olympic Education is to build a stronger nation and the positive consequences that come from it.

I believe that the most important information that we received to benefit our Canadian Olympic Committee was successful applications of Olympic Education. In many nations, Olympic Education is built directly into the school system starting at a very young age. It is not just a theme that arises every two years for one class or one particular ‘Olympic’ day. These are yearlong programs that include the history of the Olympic Games, Olympism, political movements and the variety of amateur sports. These Education Programs teach students values and morals that will affect them in every area of their life and bring out their full potential. Integrating more national level athletes into the programs on a more regular basis is seen in other countries as well. The key difference I saw between Olympic Education programs across the world depended on how highly the government and its people value sport. Olympic Education is the beginning to changing how our nation views amateur sports and what it has to offer our citizens. It should not just be applied within the school system, although that is an excellent start. The Olympic Movement needs to touch every single person, no matter what age. Community programs and events focused on amateur sports and our athletes as role models can strengthen support for the Olympic Movement. With increased government support, Olympic Education can touch every Canadian.


So I've had a little bit of a love affair going on now for the past two years. I lose myself in the moment when I hear their voices and will literally jump at any chance to see them live. This past summer I was working at Sport Alliance of Ontario and we shared such a fun office with KidSport. I was so lucky to have met Leigh there, who is the most genuine person I've met in a really long time. So when she came to me with Kings of Leon tickets in Hamilton, after only knowing me for two months, I literally almost died. There's is something about their music that just hits me to the core. Their lyrics, their sound, their soul....incredible. If you don't know who Kings of Leon are then please I urge you to check them out.

Here is one of my favorite songs of theirs....I apologize if you can hear me singing in the background....but there's always this one person that I think of and you know who you are that when I hear it I just smile...