A month ago, they were chasing their dreams in South Korea.
Now, members of the Canadian Olympic Team have returned home, and for high-performance athletes used to the daily rigours of training and competition, life’s next step can be a difficult one.
That’s where the Game Plan initiative steps in. The program is delivered by the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, along with a number of post-secondary institutions, to prepare athletes for that next step in life and the adjustments that come with it.
“After the Games, there is always a lot of attention on ‘what’s next’ for athletes,” Game Plan advisor Cara Button said. “Many athletes retire at this point in their career; others are often undecided. Game Plan aims to support athletes in this transition by providing tools, and support athletes need to be successful in and out of sport.”
Curler John Morris, who captured 2018 Olympic gold in mixed doubles, is now working toward a certificate in business in hopes of opening a cafe and bistro down the road.
“We’re amateur athletes, and we don’t make millions of dollars,” he explained. “We have to find ways to really balance our lives and to prepare us to retire.”
Brianne Jenner attended the University of Calgary to complete her master’s degree in public policy and because of Game Plan, studied part-time while training to be in peak condition for the Canadian women’s hockey team.
“The motivation for getting the master’s right away was to stay committed to the national team program,” the two-time Olympic medallist said. “I wanted to work on my resume beyond hockey.
“I’d like to play for another four years. I’d also like the opportunity to maybe do some job shadowing in the policy field or getting my feet wet in coaching. I feel like I’m in a good position completing my undergrad and my master’s [degrees].”
Three-time Olympian in bobsleigh, Jesse Lumsden, echoed those sentiments.
“The realization that sport doesn’t last forever really came during my football career after my last injury, and the decision to step away from football hits you pretty hard,” the one-time CFLer recalled. “At that point, there wasn’t a plan in place.
“Bobsleigh allowed me to have that cushion to continue pursuing competitive sport while developing a network that was going to assist me in the transition out. Game Plan was a big part of that.”
For more information, visit mygameplan.ca.