Bart Given, Managing Director
Youthful exuberance, four medals in the pool, record breaking performances when the pressure was highest – thusly selected as Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.
The similarities between the darling of the Canada’s Paralympic Team and Penny Oleksiak of the Canadian Olympic team are remarkable. These Rio Games definitely had a dominant theme. Our women are fast in the pool.
Of course there were many other great stories throughout Rio, names like Degrasse, Kish, Huot, and Stilwell have earned permanent residence in our memory bank. (Thankfully they also add to my list of stories to tell my 8 year-old at bedtime – he has an insatiable appetite for inspirational sport stories).
My first sport memory is the three medal (2 Gold & 1 Bronze) performance of Gaetan Boucher in Sarajevo. Boucher was dominant, Canada didn’t podium much – Brian Orser won the only other medal Canada would earn in 1984. But there had to be so many other incredible performances by great athletes and role models during those Games, of which I have no recollection.
We’ve been conditioned to focus on podiums. Get a medal, get recognition. Granted, recognition doesn’t always last forever and rarely leads to fame and fortune. In sport or in life. Similarly the best stories and role models don’t always finish on the podium.
Truth be told, my most recent favorite Olympic stories did not result in a medal. In 2010 it was a fifth, 2012 was a DQ and 2016 it was a fourth placed finish I remember fondly and repeat often.
The stories of Melissa Hollingsworth, Jared Connaughton and Evan Dunfee respectfully.
If you don’t know their stories, you should. These people trained for years to have their shot at a podium, and for various reasons – performance, lane violations and an appeal lost their medal. How they handled it was truly special. They owned it, accepted the reality with grace and made me proud as a Canadian.
In the case of Dunfee, during his grueling event – he helped a competitor who was struggling, was awarded bronze, lost it on appeal and refused to launch his own appeal despite being bumped by another runner because, in his words – “I came to the decision I was so proud of my race and that I couldn’t honestly take away from him what he did.”
Another of my favourite Rio stories also came from the track, it’s the story of Melissa Bishop. A medal hopeful going in, she performed incredibly well in the final of the 800m. In the biggest moment of her athletic life to-date, Bishop ran a personal best and set a Canadian record. A performance to be incredibly proud of, even though it didn’t result in a podium. She finished fourth, in a controversial race, and was obviously disappointed – no excuses were made.
Nor should there have been. Why should any athlete make an excuse for having the best performance of their life? Shouldn’t it be celebrated and remembered?
I think so.
I’m reminded of this every day. We are fortunate to have two Olympians on the TORQUE team. Neither were hired because they were an Olympian, but it certainly helped their case – despite not having an Olympic medal. They have incredible experiences and stories (not to mention work ethic!) that shape our team and make an impact on our clients.
We are all trying to achieve “Personal Bests”, and would be thrilled to have performed at our highest level possible when the pressure was on. The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games have wrapped, but the stories and achievements should live on. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your office, your brand, your consumer or for bedtime stories… perhaps check out the following individuals who set Personal Bests in the last few weeks. Follow them, hire them, sponsor them – and support the system. It will pay dividends.
(Oh and we’ve included some medalists too.)
|Andre De Grasse||200M, 100M& 4X100M||Silver & Bronze|
|Catharine Pendrel||Mountain Biking||Bronze|
|Derek Drouin||High Jump||Gold|
|Eleanor Harvey||Fencing||Made it to the Quarterfinal & set a National Record|
|Ellie Black||Individual All-Around Gymnastics||5th & set a National Record.|
|Eric Lamaze||Horse Jumping||Bronze|
|Evan Dunfee||50km Racewalk||4th & set a National Record|
|Genevieve Lalonde||3000m Steeplechase||16th & set a National Record|
|Lindsay Jennerich & Patricia Obee||Rowing||Silver|
|Meaghan Benefito & Rosaline Filion||10m Synchro Diving||Bronze|
|Melissa Bishop||800m||4th & set a National Record|
|Men’s 4x100m Relay||Track||Bronze|
|Tory Nyhaug||BMX Cycling||5th|
|Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay||Swimming||Bronze|
|Women’s 4x200m Relay||Swimming||Bronze|
|Women’s Rugby 7’s||Rugby||Bronze|
|Women’s Soccer Team||Soccer||Bronze|
|Women’s Team Pursuit||Cycling||Bronze|
|Alec Elliot||50 m Freestyle S10,
100 m Backstroke S10,
100 m Butterfly S10
|8th, 7th & 4th|
|Alister McQueen||Men’s Javelin Throw F44||Silver|
|Aurélie Rivard||Women`s 50m Freestyle,
Women`s 100m Freestyle,
Women`s 400m Freestyle,
200m Individual Medley
|3 Gold & 1 Silver|
|Women 34 -point 4 x 100m Medley Relay||5th & set a National Record|
|Austin Smeenk||100 m T34||6th|
|Benoit Huot||100 m Backstroke S10
200 m Individual medley SM10
|5th & 4th|
|Brent Lakatos||Men’s 100m T53, Men’s 800m T53||Gold & Bronze|
|Brent Lakatos||Men’s 400m T53||Silver|
|Christine Gauthier||Para Canoeing||4th|
|Diane Roy||1500 m T54 & 5000 m T54||6th & set a National Record
|Doug Blessin||Shooting Mixed 10m Air Rifle||6th|
|Gordie Michie||100 m Backstroke S14||5th|
|Guillaume Ouellet||1500m T13 & 5000m T13||9th & 4th|
|Ilana Dupont||100 m T53||8th|
|Isaac Bouckley||200 m Individual Medley SM10||8th|
|James Leroux||100 m Breaststroke SB9||7th|
|Jason Dunkerley||1500 m T11||5th|
|Jonathan Dieleman||50 m Breaststroke SB3||5th|
|Joshua Cassidy||5000 m T54||10th|
|Lauren Barwick||Equestrian: Individual Championship test grade II, Individual Freestyle test grade II||7th & 6th|
|Liam Stanley||1500 m T37||Silver|
|Marie-Claude Molnar||Women’s time trial C4||5th|
|Marie-Ève Croteau||Women’s road race T1-2 & Women’s time trial T1-2||4th & 6th|
|Men`s 4X100M Freestyle Relay:
|4 x 100 m Freestyle relay 34pts||7th|
|Men’s Wheelchair Rugby Team||Wheelchair Rugby||4th|
|Michael Sametz||Men’s Individual Pursuit C3||4th|
|Michelle Stilwell||Women’s 100m T52||Gold|
|Mitchell Chase||1500 m T38||4th|
|Mixed CoEd Four Rowing team:
|Morgan Bird||100 m Freestyle S8||5 & set a national record|
|Nathan Clement||50 m Butterfly S6||7th & set a National Record|
|Nathan Stein||50 m Freestyle S10 & 100 m Butterfly S10||5th & 5th|
|Ness Murby||Discus F11||6th|
|Nicole Clermont||Women’s Time Trial C5||8th|
|Pamela Le Jean||Shot Put F53||4th|
|Priscilla Gagne||Women’s Judo||5th|
|Sarah Mehain||50 m Freestyle S7, 50 m Butterfly S7, 200 m Individual Medley SM7||7th, 4th, 5th|
|Shelley Gautier||Women’s Road Race T1-2||6th|
|Stephanie Chan||Table Tennis||4 & set a National Record|
|Tess Routliffe||Swimming||6th & Set a National Record|
|Women`s National Goalball Team||Goalball||6th|
|Zack Mcallister||100 m Freestyle S8||7th|