Bringing Olympic spirit home
During the past 11 years while living on the road as a member of Canada’s national freestyle ski team in aerials, Canadian skiing legend Jeff Bean hasn’t had much time for anything other than training and competing.
Recently retired, Bean, who was born and bred in Ottawa’s Alta Vista community and has 17 World Cup medals in his trophy case, has now returned home to raise his own family and make an impact in his community.
“Many people might not see the connection between the Olympic Games and volunteering for your local community association,” said the three-time Olympian, who finished fourth at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games and is a two-time national champion.
“For me, the Olympic Spirit is about pride, teamwork and commitment. It’s about coming together, then focusing and excelling. This is what communities across the country need to do in order to create a better Canada.”
Inspired by RBC’s Carry the Torch contest, which asked Canadians to make a personal pledge to do something in their daily lives — big or small — to make Canada a better place to live, Bean saw he could make a difference in his own community.
“Living and working here means that I can now focus my energy on making an impact on my hometown rather than on the ski hill,” added Bean, who works as a community ambassador in the RBC Olympians program.
“This means getting out and meeting my neighbours.
“It means impacting local regulations about how many trees we can plant. It means impacting the effect we have as a community on the environment and it means impacting how we, as a community, view recreation and fitness and make it a much higher priority.”
In addition to thriving in his current role as an analyst on television broadcasts that feature freestyle skiing, Bean is pumped about watching the Games and excited about the Torch Relay.
“Having the Olympic Games right here in Canada makes this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
“Participating in the relay as a torchbearer will be as close as you can get to the Olympic Games without being an athlete — and how cool would it be to rally your neighbours and celebrate both events.”
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