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Obstacles & Opportunities

23
May 2021

Maya Jonas

Maya Jonas is a para runner AND skier... and she's also hilarious! Like Lowell, she has Retinitis Pigmentosa. She was diagnosed at age 24 and was completely blind by 40. It was in her late 40s that she developed a love for sport and became an avid runner. After completing multiple marathons, she set her sights on Nordic skiing in her fifties. She has competed at the Ski World Cup, and was the oldest woman to do so!

Don’t even THINK about telling Maya that she is too old or blind for anything… because she’ll prove you wrong and do it! And she might even kick your butt in the process. ;)

She’s been through it all. She lost her husband to Parkinson’s, she battled breast cancer, and she was running the Boston Marathon at the time of the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. 

Maya served as inspiration on Season two of AMI's Mind Set Go- the documentary series that we're also proud to be a part of. She's also an ambassador for Cycle for Sight, and would be thrilled if you went to cycleforsight.ca and supported in any way you could. 

Maya is full of stories and wisdom. Our conversation with her went in all sorts of directions, and she surprised us at every turn. Enjoy!

9
May 2021

Catharine Pendrel

Catharine Pendrel is an Olympic cyclist. She’s a new mom and also happens to HAVE an incredible mom… very appropriate for this Mother’s Day episode!

Throughout her 14-year cycling career, Catharine has won countless World Championships and National titles. She’s a three-time Olympian who has a bronze medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics, a gold medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and gold & silver medals from the 2007 & 2015 Pan Am Games!

Catharine now trains in Kamloops, BC where she lives with her husband, Keith, and their beautiful baby Dara. She has raced professionally for the Clif Pro Team (formerly Luna) since 2008, and is actively promoting sport and providing cycling opportunities for the next generation.

Catharine has done so much for women in sport. We loved hearing about how she got into cycling, becoming a new mom WHILE being a high performance professional athlete, and how she learned that being her authentic self is the most important part of competition for her.

During this conversation, we talk about Catharine’s road to Tokyo 2020ne. As this episode airs, she is currently IN Europe to clinch her spot on the Olympic team. Go Catharine! We’re cheering you on from afar!

http://www.cpendrel.com/

 

Episode art photo from the 2016 Rio Olympics (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) found at:

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/mountain-bike-world-cup-1.4237585

2
May 2021

David Willsie

David Willsie is a Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby player and coach! He became a quadriplegic after he was injured during a hockey game in 1995. Shortly after his injury, he was introduced to wheelchair rugby (aka MURDERBALL), and made the national team in 1998.

David participated in five Paralympic games throughout his 19-year career on the national team. In that time, he was featured in the 2005 documentary Murderball, and he appeared on the Rick Mercer Report. He has since participated in an episode of AMI’s documentary series Mind Set Go (season 2), and he is currently the assistant coach of the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby National Team.

David lives in Dorchester, Ontario and works for Lind Lumber which he runs with his brothers.

It was fascinating learning the history of wheelchair rugby, David’s experience with the national team, and the value of sport throughout his life. We hope you enjoy our conversation!

25
Apr 2021

Sarah Wells

Sarah Wells is an Olympic hurdler, Amazing Race Canada Sister, and Founder of the Believe Initiative!

Sarah is very familiar with obstacles—literally and figuratively—and she has become an expert at getting over them. As a hurdler, she competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and won the silver medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games. Her athletic career didn’t play out quite as she expected after that, and she used her story to help over 12,000 youth in North America understand the importance of being resilient and the power of being yourself.

Sarah has worked with organizations such as Salesforce, Deloitte, Proctor and gamble, Kraft-Heinz, Bell Media, and RBC on how to build more resilient teams.

Sarah is a passionate and inspiring person, and—lucky for us—an excellent story teller. In this conversation, we talk about her super cool siblings, the people that have shaped her life, her athletic highs and lows, the Believe Initiative, and of course... the Amazing Race Canada. Time flew with this one, and we know you’ll enjoy her stories as much as we did!

https://www.believeinitiative.com/

https://sarahwells.ca/

 

18
Apr 2021

Tristen Chernove

Tristen Chernove is a Paralympic cycling champion who is set to compete at the Tokyo 2020ne Games! In 2009, he was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) disease which is a degenerative disease of the peripheral nervous system. In an effort to counteract the impacts of the disease, Tristen switched from competitive paddling to cycling. He is now a 13x World Champion, plus he earned a full set of medals from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games—gold, silver, and bronze! In 2017, Tristen won every World Championship that exists for track and road Paracycling—something that had never been done before. He received ‘The People’s Choice Award’ Canadian Cyclist of the year for three consecutive years (2016-2017-2018) and has been nominated as Sport BC Athlete of the year for the past three years.

Through Tristen’s role on Cycling Canada Athlete’s Council, he was instrumental in implementing a cyclist to cyclist mentor program to bring cyclists together virtually throughout the pandemic. In July 2020, Tristen broke the BC Epic 1000 record by eight hours, and raised $40,000 for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada in the process!

Tristen lives in Cranbrook, BC, with his wife and two daughters. He is the President and CEO of Elevate Airports, and even received Cranbrook’s Business Person of the Year award from the Chamber of Commerce.

As you will learn through our conversation, Tristen never does anything halfway. He is filled with passion and drive, and hopes that his legacy can be a vehicle for positive change towards a future full of opportunity, equality, accessibility and diversity in sport.

11
Apr 2021

Natalie Spooner

Natalie Spooner—our Amazing Race Canada sister and Canadian Olympic Hockey champion!

Natalie started playing organized hockey at the age of four, and after high school was offered a scholarship to attend The Ohio State University. She played for the Buckeyes for four seasons, and holds the all-time goal-scoring record for the school!

In 2012, Natalie was drafted to play for the CWHL’s Toronto Furies before centralizing in Calgary for a chance to earn a spot on the roster for the 2014 Olympic Team… which she did! And the Canadian women’s hockey team won GOLD in Sochi! In 2018, Natalie helped Canada bring home the silver from Pyeongchang, and she hopes to represent Canada again at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games!

In 2014, Natalie—along with teammate & friend, Meaghan Mikkelson—competed on season two of the Amazing Race Canada. As if Canada didn’t love these two enough already… their domination of season two solidified them in our hearts!

Also in 2014, Natalie became the first woman in hockey history to claim the gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games and the Clarkson Cup in the same year.

One reality show wasn’t enough for this incredible woman! In 2019, she swapped the hockey skates for figure skates, and competed with figure skater Andrew Poje on season 5 of Battle of the Blades! They earned themselves a second place finish, and very impressively—Natalie lifted ANDREW up during one of their routines. In 2020, Natalie returned to the show as a judge.

One of the things we admire most about Natalie is what she has done for girls & women in sport. She is a Fast & Female REAL Role Model, and has a high performance hockey academy for girls. 

Natalie is beautiful inside and out, and Adidas obviously picked up on that as they recently scooped her up as an athlete for Team Adidas!

This conversation was fun and light-hearted, and we covered a lot of ground… including our mutual love of Celine Dion. We know you’ll love Natalie as much as we do… enjoy!

https://www.nataliespooner.com/

 

7
Apr 2021

Logan Boulet’s Family (Green Shirt Day)

Today—April 7th—is Green Shirt Day, and we had the pleasure of chatting with Logan Boulet’s family. Logan is the inspiration behind Green Shirt Day and the Logan Boulet Effect. On April 6, 2018, the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus was involved in a crash that shattered the hearts of Canadians. 16 of the 29 passengers on the Humboldt team bus lost their lives in the crash, and Logan was one of them. He succumbed to his injuries on April 7th, 2018. Following his passing, his organs saved or enhanced the lives of six Canadians. This sparked organ donation across Canada which became known as the Logan Boulet Effect. Now April 7th is known as Green Shirt Day—a day to bring awareness to organ donation, and the impact that Logan’s decision to donate his organs had on a nation. 

We get to know to Logan’s parents, Toby & Bernie, and his sister, Mariko. They share their own athletic histories, their favourite memories of Logan, and Logan’s unplanned legacy. The Boulets are the most beautiful and authentic family, and we hope you get as much out of our conversation as we did!

Visit https://greenshirtday.ca/ to register for organ donation, and let your loved ones know about your decision!

4
Apr 2021

Michael Frogley

Michael Frogley—widely known as Frog—is a revered wheelchair basketball player and coach. After becoming paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident in 1986, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball while at a rehab centre in Ottawa.

He made Team Canada in 1989 and competed with the Canadian Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, where Canada placed fourth.

He then served as the head coach of the Men’s National Team from 1996-2004. He guided Team Canada to Paralympic supremacy for the first time in program history with gold medals in 2000 AND 2004, as well as a Paralympic silver medal in 2008.

Frog also served as an assistant coach in 2006 as the Canadian men won their first World Championship title.

He coached men’s and women’s collegiate wheelchair basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Illinois, leading his teams to a combined 12 national championship titles.

Frog served as inspiration to a participant in the third season of the documentary series Mind Set Go.

He has received several awards during his illustrious career- including being inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame!

Frog has a Master of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and he currently lives near Toronto with his wife, Mo, and three kids.

He is hard-working, and committed to empowering others to achieve their best on and off the court. We can all learn from his inspiring mindset.

We hope you enjoy our conversation!

28
Mar 2021

Hal Johnson & Joanne McLeod (BodyBreak)

Hal Johnson & Joanne McLeod aka 80s/90s sensation BodyBreak! The Canadian television hosts are both former international-level athletes. Hal with baseball, and Joanne as a hurdler.

Since 1988, they produced over 300 short episodes of BodyBreak as well as a single season television series. They expanded the program into speaking engagements, fitness equipment, and other products.

As a mixed-race couple, they have faced their share of racism, and sought to be inclusive when casting for their BodyBreak episodes.

In 2013, Hal & Jo participated in the first season of The Amazing Race Canada (TARC)! This is how WE became connected with them. After our season of TARC aired in 2016, Hal & Jo reached out to us, took us out for breakfast, and they haven’t been able to shake us since!

In 2016, they received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal for positively impacting the health of Canadians.

They have an impressive list of guest appearances. Some fun ones include… being grand marshals of the 2013 Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade, being guest “anchors” on the news comedy program This Hour Has 22 Minutes, doing a parody of themselves for the Netflix Series Santa Clarita Diet, and creating a COVID-19 physical distancing segment for the Vancouver International Airport.

In this episode, we delve into Hal & Joanne's past athletic careers, BodyBreak, and—of COURSE—the Amazing Race Canada. We’d love to learn more about their love story and experience with racism, so they’ll just have to be guests again. Thanks Hal & Jo!

https://bodybreak.com/

21
Mar 2021

Jon Montgomery

Jon Montgomery is best known as the beloved host of Amazing Race Canada as well his gold medal in skeleton from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and the jug of beer he carried through Whistler Village!

Jon was born in Russell, Manitoba, and currently lives in Victoria, BC with his wife, Darla- also a Skeleton athlete—and their two beautiful kids.

In 2016, Jon co-hosted the JUNO Awards with eight-time recipient Jann Arden.

In 2016, he also received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Host of a Reality TV Series!

An auctioneer by trade, Jon earned his automotive marketing degree from Georgian College. He uses his skills to auction cars to raise funds for charities including KidSport Canada, Canadian Olympic Foundation and Right to Play.

We had a blast chatting about all things including Jon's Olympic career, that jug of beer, behind the scenes on Amazing Race Canada (especially since we competed on Season 4 and got to see him hard at work), and mindset lessons learned throughout it all. What a man!

http://jonmontgomery.ca/

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