We Spoke To Olympic Athlete Caileigh Filmer About What It Means To Be Resilient & Determined
And how you can celebrate Team Canada this year.
Watching Team Canada compete in the Summer Olympics is a special occasion for many Canadians. It's a chance to celebrate, show your pride and cheer on athletes as they represent the country on the world stage.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games — delayed for a year due to the pandemic — are just around the corner, but for both athletes and fans, the experience will be completely unprecedented. For the first time, the Olympic Games will go on without spectators in the stands.
The rule, put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could be a hurdle for Team Canada. For the first time ever, athletes will compete for gold with no audible cheers, and take to the podium without the proud roars of their fans.
"Nothing has gone exactly as I would have envisioned it going," Olympic rower Caileigh Filmer tells Narcity. Still, she's keeping optimistic, resilient and determined as she prepares to take on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"This time around, the Olympics feel like a celebration for everyone because we finally get to do something we all have persevered and worked so hard for, and we will be able to inspire everyone globally by giving people hope and something to get excited for," she says.
While Caileigh admits that the atmosphere of the Games will not be the same, and she'll miss having fans in Tokyo, she knows there'll be support for her back home in Canada.
In the same optimistic and resilient spirit that has marked much of the last year, Team Canada's proud fans are determined to come together to celebrate Caileigh and all her fellow athletes at Tokyo 2020.
To help cheer on Team Canada at the Olympics, Cadillac Fairview (CF), the official Home of Team Canada, is bringing the nation together and honouring Canadian athletes.
CF HOTC Sizzle 2021www.youtube.com
Before, during and after the Olympic Games, Canadians will be able to support their athletes from afar through Olympic-themed Celebration Walls. These physical and digital walls will be present at all 18 CF properties across the country.
The Celebration Walls are places where fans can share messages of support for Team Canada, learn more about their local Team Canada athletes and view creations by local artists who are inspired by the determination and resiliency of the competitors.
In addition to their commitment to spread optimism and cheer for the Olympic Team, this year CF is sponsoring eight female Team Canada athletes representing seven sports, including Rowing hopeful Caileigh Filmer. Each athlete has their own experience about staying determined and resilient which is captured through an exclusive video series to inspire future generations of athletes across the country.
We spoke to Caileigh Filmer about her own personal journey and how staying positive, inspired and motivated has played a part in her success.
Tell us about yourself and your journey as a rower and athlete. What are three fun facts about yourself our readers would be interested to know?
"I grew up and currently reside in Victoria, B.C. After doing competitive swimming until I was 13, I first tried rowing in a summer learn-to-row camp eleven years ago. I stuck with it when I found that it was the sport that most interested me, as it immediately rewarded hard work rather than natural talent. I love the endless search for perfection in the technique of the rowing stroke and the new physical boundaries you are able to try and surpass.
"Three fun facts about myself are that I have a fraternal twin sister, I always eat ice cream the night before a race, and I have an adorable orange kitten named Lucy."
What inspired you to become an Olympic athlete for Team Canada?
"Realizing that you get to do something extremely special because you are one of the best in the world for your sport is incredibly motivational. Knowing how many Canadians tune in to watch you race is thrilling because not only are you racing for yourself, but you are also racing with the strength of knowing you have the support of the entire country back home."
How many Olympic games have you attended? How old were you when you first competed?
"Tokyo 2020 will be my second Olympic Games. I first competed in the Olympics when I was 19 years old at the Rio 2016 Olympic games."
What does it mean to you to be a female athlete?
"I feel so lucky to be a strong female athlete. I want to inspire other females to get involved in sport and to believe in their own potential. I'm motivated by so many other females and believe we need to encourage women in sport.
"That's what's so special about Cadillac Fairview's Home of Team Canada campaign which embodies optimism and unites Canadians to support Team Canada. I'm honoured to have been selected alongside seven other incredible and talented female athletes for the campaign to help raise the profile for our sports and encourage future generations to be positive and go after their dreams."
How do you stay optimistic, resilient and determined as an Olympic athlete, and as a female athlete?
"Going into the Tokyo [Olympics], I am reminding myself of moments and memories in my journey that I am most grateful for. After over a year of so much uncertainty, I have tried to live in the moment and find optimism in the process. Not every day has been easy but stepping back and recognizing what my intent is every day helps me keep on track."
Tell our readers a little bit about your own story of inspiration, optimism and overcoming adversity.
"Throughout this lead up into the Games, nothing has gone exactly as I would have envisioned it going, but the lessons and experiences I have gained from it are invaluable.
"In addition to everything being changed to follow COVID-19 regulations, I've had my personal battle with depression since 2019 which continues to be prevalent. I've faced physical challenges as well as I had a serious crash on my bike last fall that resulted in my collarbone being shattered and displaced in four pieces and had to be surgically plated together.
"Even through all of these obstacles, my partner and I stuck together and tried to always remember why we do what we do. Since coming together as a crew in 2018, our coach gave us the chance to make our boat go fast and make it into our own project.
"We love rowing together, and we want to see what we have worked so hard for to the end and for each other. Making Canada proud and to inspire everyone back home as we come towards the end of this pandemic would be so special."
What is one piece of advice you would give to young athletes and Canadians who struggle with staying optimistic and determined in their own endeavours?
"To keep things at their simplest and to solve your challenges one step at a time. I am often very quick to try to solve two steps at once, but my partner and coach remind me to stay present with the task in front of me and to trust the process. Another tool my counsellor has given me is to remind myself of things I am grateful for in the settings around me. This helps me to see the positive parts of my environment rather than having the negative parts be glaring in focus.
"Another tool my counsellor has given me is to remind myself of things I am grateful for in the settings around me. This helps me to see the positive parts of my environment rather than having the negative parts be glaring in focus."
What are you looking forward to most at this year's Olympics?
"I am most looking forward to finally getting to race! The pandemic put the world of sports on hold, and this will be the first time everyone will be able to come together and race.
"This time around, the Olympics feels like a celebration for everyone because we finally get to do something we all have persevered and worked so hard for, and we will be able to inspire everyone globally by giving people hope and something to get excited for. Everyone is so talented, and it will be very exciting to get to see what we can do.
"The atmosphere will be a bit different and while I will miss having fans in Tokyo, I know there is lots of support back home, including at CF properties where fans can come together to cheer on Team Canada leading up to, throughout and following the Games. Community support means the world to all the athletes and we're thankful for the tremendous words of encouragement!"
Is there anything else you would like to tell Narcity readers?
"I will leave all of the Narcity readers with the quote most dear to my heart: 'Make the impossible possible, and always smile."