As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games approach, we’re in for a completely unprecedented Olympics experience.
After years of training hard for the Games, last year’s postponement was a huge letdown for athletes around the world who were looking forward to representing their countries on the world stage.
When Olympic trampolinist, Rosie MacLennan, first learned last year that the Games were being postponed, she had “mixed feelings.” To know that everything she’d been working towards was suddenly up in the air was disappointing, but she knew public health and safety had to take precedence.
“I tried to focus on the opportunity that this postponement brought,” she tells us. “I took this last year to push myself to be the best I can be. I love training and I love my sport so I’m excited to be able to continue this journey.”
With Japan being 13 hours ahead (EST) — which means competitions will be underway while we’re all sound asleep — the games will look a little different this year in a couple of different ways.
Not only are we facing extensive time change, it’s also the first time in a century that athletes will be competing without Canadian fans in attendance, rooting them on from the stands.
This means that Olympic athletes, who have already had to put their dreams on hold for a year, won’t be hearing that roar of applause and cheers from Canadians as they push themselves to the limit or when they step up to the podium to claim their medals.
While on the surface this may seem like a detail that doesn’t amount to anything of significance, there’s evidence that indicates a direct correlation between a cheering crowd and an athlete’s performance.
When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising to imagine that hearing your name chanted by loyal fans (ones who have travelled across the world to see you compete) might give athletes the boost of energy they need to give it their all.
So, how can we express our enthusiasm and support for the hard-working Canadian athletes who will be stepping up from the other side of the Pacific this July?
Cheerios has partnered with Team Canada athletes to empower Canadians to keep cheering from afar by bringing back their Cheer Cards in time for the Games.
Since first launching a decade ago, Cheerios has sent Canadian athletes over 100,000 Cheer Cards — providing people with a fun, personalized way to offer their support during these unprecedented times.
This summer, our athletes — including Olympic sprinter Andre De Grasse, Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak, Olympic diver Jennifer Abel, and skateboarder and Olympic hopeful Matt Berger — will need more cheer than ever to bring home the gold at the upcoming Games.
Over the years, athletes have described the Cheer Cards as a boost of energy that keeps them going. That’s why Cheerios is hoping to make this year’s shipment the biggest to date — and getting on board is easier than you think.
For McLennan, she describes “cheer and joy” as being crucial to her training. “It is easy to get bogged down by the stress of what you are trying to achieve, but at the end of the day, I do this sport because I love it. Having that opportunity to connect with, and hear from those supporting us, gives me a lot of strength and joy that I carry with me through the competition.”
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Here’s how it goes: keep an eye out for Cheerios specially designed “Cheer” boxes in the cereal aisle of your local grocer.
Then, after a delicious breakfast, you can cut out the Cheer Card, write a personalized message to your favourite Canadian Olympian, drop it in a Canada Post mailbox, and feel good knowing your cheery, handwritten message will be delivered to athletes (for free!).
The Cheer Cards can be as simple or as decorated as you want — you can even make it all family activity full of spelling practice and creativity. All that matters is that you take the time to spread some much-needed cheer.
And for all the aspiring athletes out there, McLennan also has some support of her own to offer: “Chase the dream, love the journey.” While it’s important to challenge yourself and stay motivated, “appreciate the highs and the momentum when that comes, but also appreciate the challenges that get put in your path.”
“It is really hard to see the value of struggle when you are in the middle of it, but each challenge does present an opportunity for growth.”
For more ideas and inspiration on how to spread the cheer or to learn more about cheering on our Olympic athletes at this year’s Games, you can visit bethecheer.ca.