This year for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics we wanted to get involved, we wanted to show our support and provide Canadians with a chance to build community during the games. Our Olympic Campaign aims to amplify Canadian spirit and community throughout the 16-day duration. We've reached out to some Calgarian Olympic athletes who have experienced the Olympics first hand and tonight we're hearing from Skeleton racer, Cassie Hawrysh! Scroll, read and enjoy!
Let's dive into it!
The Power of Two
I was born and raised in a city who’s tagline was once: “40,000 friends waiting for you.” and today, remains fondly known as the “Wheat City” - Brandon, Manitoba. He was born and raised in a Polish community in “Forest City” AKA London, ON, whose population is almost 10 times that of my hometown. I am a child of the 80s and he is a 90s baby. I graduated with a degree in Journalism, and he is a Mechanical Engineer, completing his second degree in Physics.
We grew up 2,226 km (1383 miles) apart and it would take our unique paths more than two decades to cross, but they did ..…
Our first meeting occurred the summer following the most challenging season* of my Skeleton career. Alexander Kopacz had burst onto the Bobsleigh scene as a Breakman - like a proverbial freight train - but the day our eyes met across the gym at Winsport in Calgary, AB - neither of us had any clue who the other person was.
Photos by Briare Crawford
That was more than 3 years ago now, we’ve been through long distance, laughter, tears, podiums, records, new equipment, old memories, injuries, retirement, uncertainty, and success. Undoubtedly, there will be more - but today, I can say with certainty that if you ask either one of us what it’s been like since we met? The answer, with a knowing laugh, would be, “Life Changing.”
While we grew up in geographically different areas and had never considered Olympic dreams via winter sliding sports - it’s the love and support of our families and friends alongside a relentless, obsessive passion for achievement has us unified in our drive to push the limits - in absolutely EVERYTHING we do.
Photos by Briare Crawford
Our athletic careers have seen us both travel the world, together and separately. I’m said to have the big, vibrant personality, and he’s the one with the incredibly big, brilliant ideas. Whether it’s in the gym or cooking a meal - we both love to win/ hate to lose - and will battle to take the moment. Our relationship exists between breaking and making, challenging and refining, disrupting and organizing. Ultimately though, we are 100% each other’s biggest fans and 2018 has already solidified itself as a year to remember.
This January, Alex was officially named to the 2018 Canadian Winter Olympic Team and is currently in PyeongChang, South Korea preparing to compete. On February 18th and 19th he will push for the podium in a 2-man Bobsled, and on February 24th and 25th he will be an integral part of Team Canada’s 4-man Bobsleigh medal contention.
We never truly know where life will take us, nor can we predict who we may meet along the way - but in Canada, we are bound by our differences and unified by our individualized situations - and that is exactly what connects us all. We are stronger together …from coast, to coast, to coast.
Go Canada! Go!
A former member of Team Canada, Skeleton.
Current Head Coach of Skeleton, Whistler Sliding Centre
*In February 2014, after a long hard fought battle, Team Canada Skeleton lost it’s 3rd women’s and men’s sleds for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. We would take the smallest contingent to date, and I would consequently be named as the women’s Alternate. I did not travel, nor compete.
Tune in next week to see what we have on the blog! If you or someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! Chat at chaaa next week Canada - stay local!