Stephen Hosier, Jason Ransum, Mark Blinch/COC, Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson
Stephen Hosier, Jason Ransum, Mark Blinch/COC, Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson

Team Canada Olympians on their favourite moment as Team Canada fans

Team Canada athletes are also Team Canada fans.

We asked Canadian Olympians to tell us their favourite Olympic moment as a Team Canada fan. For some, watching Canadians compete on TV when they were kids was what inspired their own Olympic dreams; others were stopped in their tracks by their own teammates, and lots of these summer Olympians showed love to the winter sports.

Here are their favourite Team Canada moments (and we suspect some of yours too)!

Aaron Brown (Athletics)

I always love seeing Canadians on top of the podium. Any time we hear that national anthem, it’s like we come together as a country to celebrate. 

And I love those moments because I feel like everybody, no matter what you’re going through, no matter what your background, we all stand for the maple leaf and we can all celebrate and take part in that–because it could be the person from down the street, the person you grew up with in your hometown, it could be someone from your province. Whoever it is, we all support the maple leaf.

And of course, I train in America, so I’m surrounded by lots of Americans. It’s always great to have bragging rights. So I’d have to pick when Team Canada [men’s hockey] beat the USA, and won the gold and it was in Vancouver on home soil. 

Evan Dunfee (Athletics)

I don’t know if I should admit this, but one of my favorite moments I had to sleep through…but I knew it was going to happen! Damian [Warner] won his gold medal the night before my 50K and my race was at 5:30 in the morning. I had to wake up at 2:30 in the morning, so I had to go to bed very early and I missed Damian’s 1500, the final event of the decathlon. 

I knew he’d won it; I stayed up and watched the javelin. Once he got his solid jav out there, I knew he’d won it.

To me, the multi-event guys, whether it’s Damian, Pierce [LePage], Georgia [Ellenwood], they are the superheroes of sport in my mind. The multi-events require so much math and so much explanation and I love that I can be that person who makes the event more accessible to people and helps them understand how this event works.

So I felt so bad during Tokyo that people were asking me: “Hey, are you doing your decathlon explainers?” And I was like, “I’ve got to race tomorrow!” 

But yeah, for me it was, it was that gold medal from Damian–it genuinely couldn’t have happened to a better person.

Sarah Douglas (Sailing)

Oh, I have so many! I was a volunteer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and I was working at beach volleyball. Melissa Humana-Paredes was so kind to the volunteers. I remember her serving into the volunteers on a practice day and it was so cool to have the athlete interact with the volunteers. Those kinds of things make a big difference.

Scott [Moir] and Tessa [Virtue] also come to mind because they’re the GOATS. And I love watching Mark McMorris compete.

But what’s cool now is that I’m on the same team as these people. And so you watch someone like Evan Dunfee, for example, you watch his race and you know him and you interact with him and you’re like, this is so cool! When you see other athletes’ medal moments or how they performed, even if it was a loss, you witness the effort that they had put into it, so I think you just have a true appreciation for them owning their craft and putting everything into it. It makes me immensely proud.

Kristen Kit (Rowing)

For me, Beckie Scott really stands out in my mind. I remember watching the Olympics on television when she competed. And I remember we had some snow at the time in St Catharines. My parents have a backyard that’s about like three quarters of an acre. And my dad found these cross-country skis in someone’s garbage.

I’d never cross-country skied before (and still don’t really!). But I set up an Olympic cross-country skiing course in my parents’ backyard–with a track! And I just had these moments where I would see myself at the Olympics. 

I’m sure my parents would look out their kitchen window at me cross-country skiing on these wooden skis, probably wiping out a fair bit. But that’s definitely a big memory for me.

Avalon Wasteneys (Rowing)

For me, those formative years of watching cross-country skiing athletes from Team Canada were so inspirational for me. But at the same time, my more recent memory of what was just really impactful to me was actually from Pyeongchang 2018. I had the honor of being able to be there through RBC Training Ground, so I was watching in person.

I remember being there to watch the figure skating final with Tessa [Virtue] and Scott [Moir]. I’ve always loved figure skating; it’s so beautiful and emotional. But being there and watching it was next level. I was crying in my seat. I had goosebumps. I could just see the determination and the emotion and just the love those two had for their sport.

I’m not a figure skater. I have nothing to do with that sport. It was just a one off, but it made me just so motivated seeing that genuine love for what they were doing.

Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski (Rowing)

I have been watching the Olympics since I was really young, probably because my dream started so early. But for some reason, Erica Wiebe, when she won her [wrestling] gold medal, I was bawling like a baby. It was just a reminder of what I was rowing for. 

It was two years into my rowing career and I felt like I had gotten a second chance at sport through rowing and to live my dream, which was so cool. And then that moment I was like: “Oh yeah, I really want this!” Erica’s from Calgary, and I started rowing in Calgary. They’re both summer sports and that’s rare in the Rockies, so that was just really cool. And now I get to call her friend, so it’s pretty special.

Will Crothers (Rowing)

Watching Donovan Bailey win the 100m, back in the day is one of my favourite Team Canada moments. That was incredible. I just remember watching in awe, because that was one of the first times I was watching the Olympics and it was really registering with me. So that was a really special moment.

What’s your favourite Team Canada moment? And who do you think will shine in Paris 2024?