A Journey to the Olympics: Gold Medalist Madison Mailey

On Thursday, February 3, students in Grades 4 to 7 were treated to a conversation with Olympic Gold Medalist Madison Mailey. Madison won her medal at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in the Women’s Eights Rowing event. Through the hour-long discussion, Madison weaved three themes through her stories. 

The first theme, “Just Being a Kid”, was well received by the students as Madison set the stage of her Olympic journey by doing all the things most elementary students do. She went to school, she played on school teams, she enjoyed choir, and she hung out with her friends. Madison was clear that in Grade 6 she knew about the Olympics, but she wasn’t dreaming about them—she was too busy being a kid. 

The second theme, “Trust in the Process”, allowed the students to gain a perspective on the ups and downs of Madison’s journey. Not every day was a dream come true, and both Madison and her teammates suffered many setbacks. In the end, they were successful because they kept their focus on the process of working hard and supporting each other. 

The final theme “Respect Your Teammates as Individuals” was also meaningful for our students. After the Tokyo Olympics were delayed for a year, Rowing Canada isolated the team. Madison spoke of the challenges of being in an intensely competitive environment with the same people for such a long period of time. Recognizing each teammate’s unique personality, and respecting the space of each individual was crucial to their team’s support of each other, ultimately leading to the Gold Medal. 

Reflecting on her journey to the Olympics, and her next step (to row or not to row), Madison passed on many pearls of wisdom to the Tigers. Perhaps one of the best quotes she left us with was this, “I played on lots of ‘B’ teams growing up, and I ended up being one of the best athletes in the world in a different sport. You never know.”

Thank you, Madison, for sharing your stories. You are an amazing athlete, and more importantly, you are an awesome person bringing inspiration to the next wave of Tigers!

Brent Jackson
Junior Athletics Coordinator

Read more about Madison at olympic.ca/team-canada/madison-mailey