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Tokyo 2021: These Olympics Are All About Adapting For Marnie McBean

Tokyo 2021: These Olympics Are All About Adapting For Marnie McBean

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Marnie McBean is returning to the Olympics this year as Team Canada’s chef de mission. She is the team’s spokesperson, mentor, and, for this pandemic edition of the Olympics, their biggest cheerleader as COVID-19 restricts the number of people in the stands this year.

Speaking to PostMedia prior to the Olympics’ opening ceremony, she shared her updated Olympic motto for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“If you talk to athletes, I’ve been telling them I had already added my own fourth word,” Marnie said. “Not only had I added it, but I made it up. I made up my own Latin word. So it’s, ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius … Adaptius.’”

At the root of resiliency sits adaptation, Marnie explained, and that is exactly what Team Canada has been doing — adapting and thriving.

For 16 months, while their regular training spots were closed due to the pandemic and with no idea whether the 2020 Olympics would ever even happen, they continued to train in their basements, condos, makeshift backyard pools, etc. Marnie believes that this past year only reignited their passion and commitment for their sport, and that’s evident in every step of their journey to this moment.

“You know, it’s been very challenging to come into the country,” Marnie said, referring to the COVID-19 testing protocols at the Tokyo airport. “And that’s appropriate and it’s important because those sort of checks and protocols are what’s designed to keep us all safe and to make this work. The fastest we’ve been getting through the airport checks — the fastest — is four hours, and we’ve had people come through in 11 hours. And the next day, everybody is like, ‘I’m so happy to be here.’ They’re just rolling with it and adapting.”

Marnie is the leader of a Team Canada delegation that includes 370 athletes — the largest number of athletes seen since Canada’s team at the Los Angeles 1984 games — and 70 healthcare staff. She is sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the Tokyo 2020 games over her social media channels. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram to join Marnie in cheering on the team!


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Marnie McBean is one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians, and an expert in turning potential into performance. As a former Specialist in Olympic Athlete Preparation and Mentoring for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Marnie prepared athletes emotionally and psychologically to ensure that they performed at the highest level. Now, as a keynote speaker, she draws on her years of experience with the COC and as a top competitor to leave audiences with a recipe for success that can be applied to all endeavours.

Interested in learning more about Marnie and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].