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A St. John's chiropractor has returned home from the Tokyo Olympics with a once-in-a-lifetime experience behind her and some bonus anecdotes, including a meeting with Canada's top soccer star.
Janice Drover was part of the Canadian medical team inside the Olympic Village for the duration of the games, tending to athletes not only from her home country, but also other teams in need of a helping hand.
"That situation is a really interesting part of my job, because I'm just meeting them at the top of their game," Drover told CBC News.
"It's like speed-dating at the Olympics to try and get to know somebody, and then you're helping them in their competition and on their journey."
There was a lot of talk about the accommodations inside Tokyo's Olympic village throughout the Games, particularly the cardboard beds.
Drover said rumours about those beds being uncomfortable are true. Some days people would feel it in their necks, she said with a laugh.
But a rough night's sleep didn't deter Drover from basking in the moment, as the world focused its attention on the largest global sporting competition for amateur athletes, all under the cloud of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Drover said her experience in working with Vancouver's Yvette Yong — who found out she'd be representing Canada in taekwondo only three weeks before Tokyo, calling it "surreal" — is one moment that stands out to her.
"So many things happened for her to be there … and just getting to be on the end of this journey with her, she was so inspiring," Drover said.
"She was doing her CBC interview after and I was in tears just listening to her about her story. That's somebody who getting to the Olympics was their gold medal."
Drover also met Christine Sinclair, one of Canada's most famous soccer players and captain of the first women's gold medal team.
"I kind of felt a bit fangirl-ish, because I was like, 'I know who you are but you have no idea who I am.' She is the top footballer in the world for international soccer. Nobody has her record and she finally got her gold medal," Drover said.
"She's the most humble person I have ever met."
But the experience as a whole was about the people, Drover said.
Meeting athletes from around the globe and helping them get prepared to hit the world's stage was among the highlights.
"At the end of the day, and maybe it's because I'm a Newfoundlander, it's about the people. It's about their stories, and it's about their journey and how I can help them in that journey," she said.
"That's the biggest thing that I've taken from it."