Mon, September 23, 2013

Tewksbury, Bernier recall Olympic triumphs

By TIM BAINES, QMI Agency


Mark Tewksbury, chef de mission 2012 Canadian Olympic team, knows all about the highs and lows of competition. (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters/Files)

OTTAWA - Mark Tewksbury and Sylvie Bernier understand what that Olympic moment is all about.

They’ve seen the highs and the lows. They’ve both tightly clutched gold medals — Tewksbury in swimming and Bernier in diving.

And now they’re heading into the Summer Games in London in a different capacity — Tewksbury as the Canadian chef de mission and Bernier as the assistant. They both were on hand for the unveiling of Canada’s 2012 flag-bearer — triathlete Simon Whitfield.

“Once you’ve been an Olympian, you’re an Olympian for life,” said Tewksbury, a seven-time world record holder and triple Olympic medallist in the pool. “You become focused on your event, that 16 days of the Olympics, but it goes on way beyond that.”

Bernier had a similar sentiment.

“I remember everything ... the plan I had, it was marked on my calendar a year ahead ... the 6th of August, at 4 in the afternoon,” said Bernier, a gold medallist in the three-metre springboard event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Her dream began when she was 12. She wanted to be an Olympic diver and when told of her plan, her parents shrugged and said, ‘Why not?’

“I had that image in my mind until I was 20, when I got my ticket to Los Angeles. All of these athletes have had that dream. And now here they are.

“Even if you have been a world champion 20 times, people will remember you for how you performed in the Olympics.”

tim.baines@sunmedia.ca

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