Olympic champion urges Calgary adults to get off the couch

Olympic champion urges Calgary adults to get off the couch

It's the best week of the year to get your butt in gear.

That's the message from Olympic gold medallist Catriona Le May Doan, who explained the idea behind All Sport One City to host David Gray on the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

This week has been declared All Sport One City by Sport Calgary.

Calgarians over 18 have the opportunity to try any of the more than 100 fitness activities being offered at venues across the city — all for no charge whatsoever.

If you're healthy physically, you're healthier mentally

"What we really want is to get adults active," said Le May Doan. "Life is stressful. We understand that.

"We're taxi drivers for our kids. We're busy in life — and that's OK," she added. "It's something that keeps us healthy. And again — if we're healthy physically, for sure you can't deny it, you're healthier mentally."

"We want to introduce people to new activities but also to new facilities," she added. " Because people often don't know what's just around the corner. A lot of these facilities have their designated place."

Those facilities include places to try out things like karate, parkour, yoga, netball — or quidditch, the sport that started as fiction, in the Harry Potter novels, and now is a real thing.

Le May Doan says that January is the time of year when people have resolved to change their ways anyway, so it makes sense to to dedicate a week to it.

"In January, people are thinking about New Year's resolutions," she said. "They're thinking about this year."

Focus on adults

This week's event is focused on adults — there's a June week geared toward kids — but it also includes several events aimed at teenagers.

"Teens are a tough age," she said. "When we do All Sport One City, SAIT is going to have a teen squash program … and again, I think if adults are active, and trying a new event, sometimes their kids say, 'Hey! You're doing quidditch? Maybe I'll do quidditch, too!'"

And she said not to worry if you're no good. She's no good at a lot of sports — and she won Olympic medals.

"I did sledge hockey last year — and was absolutely terrible," she said. "And you know what? Everyone else was terrible as well, so I didn't feel as intimidated by it. Because you get to a certain age and you think, 'I should be better than this.' But know what? You're never too old to learn something new."

That was driven home by her struggle to learn women's hockey and ringette.

"I play, I call it, old lady hockey and old lady ringette," she said. "Not many people beat me to the ring or beat me to the puck, but what I do with it after that … and I don't turn right really well."

None of which diminished her enjoyment one iota.

"It was intimidating going out there because people assume I'm an Olympian, I've won Olympic gold medals, that I should be good at anything," she said. "Well why? Why should I be good at everything? Because I'm not. I understand the intimidation factor and the judging of other people. So come on out and try new events and nobody will judge.

"It will just be a whole lot of fun."

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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener