Raising a Canadian Athlete

rosie and mom

Jane MacLennan is the mom of Olympic team member Rosie MacLennan. Sixteen years after starting trampoline, Rosie competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games—her second Olympics—and won Canada’s only gold medal. Performing the most difficult routine of the competition, Rosie earned a career-high score of 57.305 and secured Canada’s first-ever Olympic trampoline gold medal. After Rosie’s Olympic triumph, she maintained her top international ranking at the 2013 FIG World Championships. A year later, she was the first woman to compete 3 triples at Worlds and added silver to her growing medal collection. At the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, Rosie successfully defended her Pan Am title from Rio. Her is her story.

‘Failure is essential to learn and to succeed.’ This philosophy was key for my daughter, Rosie MacLennan, London 2012 Olympic gold medalist in Trampoline, to understand throughout her journey to becoming an Olympian in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Rosie grew up in a family where sports and dance were used to learn life skills. As her mother, I introduced Rosie to many activities. Like her siblings, Rosie demonstrated natural ability in many directions but from age 6 set her mind on competing at the Olympics. She wrote stories in her grade one journal about becoming an Olympian. I don’t think she knew what made an Olympian; just that she wanted to march with the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies. When her brothers started trampoline, she (age 8) and Kate tagged along. She jokes that I couldn’t find a babysitter but I entered them in a ‘family jump’ class where they each had a trampoline for an hour with a coach. Great fun and physical workout! When the boys started hitting the rafters, the coach sent us to Skyriders. Fun turned into Rosie’s passion; her dream became more real when she started competing internationally at age 11.

Competitive sports have been a staple in our family for generations. Sport has taught our children important life skills: perseverance, sportsmanship, working hard towards goals, and dealing with failure. Our motto: If you don’t fall during a practice then you haven’t tried something that pushed your limits. Learn to fail fast, pick yourself back up and push through the difficulties until you find a solution that works for you. Failure is a necessary component of achievement.

Rosie has always shown mental strength in facing adversity but behind her, she has a strong support system to find solutions to meet her challenges. Through her journey, she has suffered disappointments and more recently, concussions, but many are there to support her: (family, coach, Gymcan, medical team, sponsors). The recent P&G Thank You Mom video really resonates with me and showcases the Mom behind every Olympian. Behind each athlete, there’s a mom and a family to share the highs and lows. Families make sacrifices, are present every day and available to listen/advise at any hour through the tough moments. Every Olympian starts first as someone’s child or sibling!

Rosie is the perfect match for Tide’s ‘small but powerful’ campaign both physically and mentally. An international judge once told Rosie she would never make it because she had the wrong body (powerful legs, short stocky frame). For many, this would have been devastating and an excuse to give up. But we talked about her goals. Do you want to be the best; does your shape not help you accomplish this goal? Her small but powerful body has become the source of her success—her mental toughness to face adversity and challenge, her key strength.

We encouraged our children to reach high for their goals and to push their limits. Talent is a privilege not to be wasted so you must work hard to maximize your capabilities. Rosie has taken her talent, worked hard to push her limits and reached the top of the podium. She has chased her dream to the fullest. But the true reward and life lessons come from enjoying the journey. Good or bad. Whether she wins or loses, Rosie always has the support of her family. To us it is her journey that defines her; to us she’s just Rosie!

This post is brought to you by P&G’s ‘Thank You Mom’ team.


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