Seeking the Peak: Finding, Creating and Being Excellence

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics relight the fire and energy I had as an athlete competing in Biathlon. As an Anti-Doping Chaperone, I had the opportunity to be on the field of play, in athlete areas and surrounded by world-class athletes.

This experience also reminded me of the sights, sounds and smells of competing in Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing. Ole Einer Bjoerndalen, a celebrated and highly successful Norwegian Biathlete who is now in his mid-thirties, even said he would compete in Sochi 2014 when he will be close to 40 years old. We have such amazing athletes who have either grown up with disabilities or have overcome the loss of a limb to cancer or a spinal cord injury, competing at world-class levels. No longer are age and disabilities limitations for accomplishing anything world-class, athletic or otherwise.

To me, being an Olympian/Paralympian means being world-class, setting an example and inspiring others to follow. It also means finding ways around, through or over any obstacles in ethical, moral, legal and fair-play ways to reach your peak performance.

As a former national athlete, these past several weeks of athletic celebration inspired me to get back to my roots of training and competition. I aim to find and create excellence to become outstanding in my business, my personal relationships and my health.

This is not a single destination, but instead a journey with many steps. This means setting the new standards and adhering to everything I believe in, including myself, even when others don’t or won’t.

Remember, there will always be naysayers who will think you are not capable. I always have hope, create a plan and then take action. I remember last summer when I set a very high goal of knocking 17 minutes off my Grouse Grind time by my birthday. And that is exactly what I did.

I know how fit I was in 1999. I know that I was able to complete a marathon in 4:08 in 2005. When I was on the BC Biathlon Team, I didn’t have the confidence, but I had the talent to be on the National Team.

I now have the confidence, talent and knowledge to accomplish my athletic goals this summer. I plan to complete the Grouse Grind Mountain Run in 30 minutes and the Seek the Peak Race (16 km mountain run from Ambleside Park in West Vancouver to the peak of Grouse Mountain at 4100 ft) in under 2 hours.

The last things are training and smart work. I know this dedication to being the most fit I have ever been will translate to excellence in my business and my relationships.

Seek the Peak is my personal and business theme for 2010. How are you Seeking the Peak?

Contributing to a Family and Olympic Legacy

During his Unleash the Power Within seminar, Tony Robbins described one of our human needs as the need to contribute. Volunteering for the Olympics fulfilled this need for me in several ways.

I was fortunate enough to be at the same venue as my father. As an only child, family is very important to me. Just knowing that he was out there somewhere filled me with a sense of pride, comfort and joy. During our time at the venue, we were able to see each other several times in the workforce break tent between events. I really enjoyed sharing this experience with him and knowing that we both contributed to the success of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

At the end of the biathlon events, I was dismissed from my role in Anti-Doping, but before I went home I overheard that the stadium and range were going to be dismantled. To me, this was a call to action. Even though I was not part of the Biathlon Range or Stadium crew, I knew I had to lend my two hands and capable body. It was outstanding how well everyone worked together as a team to accomplish this significant goal in about one and a half hours.

Afterward, I stood in amazement on the range with my dad and thought, “Wow! I am at the Olympics with Dad.” I held on to my vision of participating in the Olympics; to me it did not matter that it was not as an athlete. We also took a group photo in the penalty loop, with a bunch of us standing on the podium, including myself.

These are stories and memories that Dad and I will continue to share and reflect on together for years to come.

I took my role as an Anti-Doping Chaperone very seriously, not because I was involved in Doping Control, but because I knew that our interactions with athletes, coaches, officials and team doctors would be part of shaping their Olympic experience and the stories they told when they went home. The feedback we had about Doping Control was that everything went very well. I am proud of our team at Biathlon.

I also spoke with athletes who were at Turin in 2006, who thought our facilities and athletes village were much better. I was also honoured to witness the pride of someone receiving his first Olympic medal. As volunteers, we are referred to as the “Blue Jackets” by John Furlong. We all had our roles and without them, the games would not have succeeded. I am also extremely grateful for all the spectators and residents of Vancouver and Whistler who I met. I noted the enthusiasm and pride they had for the athletes of their home nations, Canada or otherwise, and I was touched and amazed. Thank you to everyone who surrounded me and embraced this unique experience with me.

The legacies of the 2010 Olympic Games are many. Not only do we have new facilities to use for generations to come, but we also have a renewed sense of Canadian pride and memories of all those who journeyed here to participate (athletes, spectators, and athlete families). I hope that this pride carries over and the athletic accomplishments of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes inspires our nation to dig deep and become the champions they have inside themselves.

What are you going to do today to find and unleash your inner champion?

Excitement Building for Olympic Games Volunteer

In late November I invested a whole day in games time training for my volunteer role in Anti-Doping for 2010. I am very excited that I have been chosen to help make Biathlon, the sport I competed in for BC, a fair competition during the Olympics.

During registration we received a deck of playing cards marked Anti-Doping. They are still in the wrapping. I don’t think that will ever change. We started with an ice-breaker game to meet each other, we ended up with our our own cheering team. It started by each person challenging the individual sitting next to them to a Paper, Rock, Scissors game, with the winner continuing on and the loser cheering on the winner in the next round. It didn’t take long before I found myself as part of the final two. Which thankfully was a best of three. The eventual winner, a Doctor from Calgary won the first round, I won the second round and she won last one. The championship was a small gold plastic cup with “Golden Cup” scrawled in permanent marker on the side. (I will challenge her to a re-match when I see her again).

During the rest of the day we were shuffled from room to room for various topics and a well-catered lunch. Some of the information was very general to our role in Anti-Doping, including role playing difficult situations, while others material covered was very venue specific.
I have my shift schedule for the Olympics and know when I will be picking up my uniform, but have still to fully figure out transportation. One thing is for certain, transportation to Whistler is from BCIT, not far from where I live (phew). The organizers have been kind enough to leave us with at least one day between our long shifts to recuperate. VANOC is very good at ensuring that we are well prepared for our roles and that we will be supported at the venue.
As a former Biathlete, I am very excited to be assigned mainly to the Biathlon venue at Whistler Olympic Park. As an Anti-Doping Chaperone we get be on the field of play and interact with the athletes. These will be memories I will cherish for a long time.
Recent News – December 3rd, 2009 Top Ten World Cup Finish for Canadian Biathlete
Are you volunteering or hosting volunteers? I want to hear from you, so leave your thoughts and share your experience below.