Unfortunately for many of the athletes competing at the Canada Summer Games over the last two weeks, their trip to PEI will mark the highest level of sport they will achieve. But for those with the drive to
go farther, they’re getting a leg up from past Canada Games athletes thanks to AthletesCAN.
“AthletesCAN is the voice of all national team members from the Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth, PanAm and from aboriginal sports circles,” said Moira Lassen, AthletesCAN executive director and
Whitehorse resident. “It started in 1992 and it has grown into a world-class organization and it’s the first one in the world run by athletes for athletes.
“Its purpose is to build leaders – athlete leaders. We know that athletes have a powerful voice as role models or in influencing policy changes.”
Since the start of the Games, a handful of past-Games participants who continued to excel in their sports, including some who went on to the Olympics and world championships, attended team meetings,
focus groups and presented medals to athletes. They also gave motivational speeches outlining their journey from beginner to world-class athlete, “hopefully motivating the people in the audience to keep
going, to stay involved,” said Lassen.
“That’s when the athletes get quite excited: being presented a medal by an Olympian is a fantastic thing.”
Included in the list of accomplished athletes was Whitehorse’s very own Jeane Lassen, who competed in weightlifting at the Beijing Olympics a year ago finishing eighth. Jeane did not win a medal at the
Canada Games, but had a story of persistence to share.
“I went to the Canada Games in 1995 and 13 years later I went to the Olympics, so I want to explain to athletes that it can be a long road, but that’s not a bad thing,” said Jeane. “(The Games) are a part of a
journey, not a destination.”
Jeane’s message is grounded in the theory that talent is a derivative of effort, not inborn.
“I want athletes to understand that being a high-level athlete – it isn’t luck at all what determines who goes on further and who’s going to stay at this level,” said Jeane.
“The choices you have to make to be a good athlete are the important parts. Simple choices like going to bed at a decent time, not going out and partying.
“In the end, what matters most is that you put in the time.”
Working with young talent is nothing new to Jeane, who helps Yukon athletes reach the next level with her business, School of Hard Knocks
“I tell the athletes that the talent is in the choices,” said Jeane. “You can be born with all the athletic ability in the world, but if you don’t use it, or don’t make the right choices, you’re not going to go
Just over a week ago, Jeane competed in Quebec in a meet that “didn’t go that well at all,” she said.
“I learned from it even though it was a bad experience – there’s always something to draw from it.”
Dauntless, Jeane still has every intention of making the Canadian team for the 1012 Olympic Games in London, but she most do a little juggling between training and continuing her work with Hard Knocks.
“I have to figure out what that’s going to look like because I want to stay in the Yukon and continue working with other athletes,” she said. “It is difficult being in the gym all day (working with other athletes)
and trying to get in some training of my own.
“So I have to figure out how to remain an elite athlete while still being a coach at the same time.”
Jeane will be competing at the World Championships in South Korea in November, but she hopes to get another competition under her belt leading up to the Worlds.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org