HomeTrending TopicsGabrielle Daleman on what it takes to mentally practice for the Olympics – Macleans.ca
Posted in Trending Topics on 23rd February 2018

Gabrielle Daleman of Canada performs within the women single skating free skating within the Gangneung Ice Area on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (David J. Phillip/AP)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Gabrielle Daleman heads into the quick program on the Pyeongchang Olympics on Wednesday morning with some momentum after she edged out teammate Kaetlyn Osmond for the ladies’s title on the Canadian nationwide championships final month.

The 20-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., has been on fairly a journey over the previous 12 months, claiming bronze behind Osmond’s silver eventually 12 months’s worlds, present process surgical procedure to take away an stomach cyst, talking out in opposition to bullying and getting ready for her second Olympics.

She was solely 16, the youngest Canadian on the Video games, when she completed 17th at Sochi however already in Pyeongchang she’s helped Canada win gold within the staff occasion.

Within the leadup to the Olympics, she sat down with Sportsnet to debate her packages, her skating and why she determined to talk out about bullying.

READ: How Tessa Advantage and Scott Moir hooked us with their ‘romance’

SN: What’s completely different about you as an athlete this season, in comparison with final 12 months?

Daleman: I did a number of psychological coaching in the summertime (with sports activities psychologist Judy Goss), which is definitely wonderful as a result of I’ve by no means felt extra mentally ready for a season in my total life. I run by packages in my head, what we’re going to be planning on, what to anticipate in each day coaching, at Olympics, at nationals, taking issues day-by-day, competition-by-competition.

SN: What sort of self-talk do you do with your self now?

Daleman: It actually is dependent upon the day. There could be days once I’m actually hungry and my training-mate Javier Fernandez will skate by me and we’ll be like, there’s 22 minutes after which we are able to eat. Or there are days the place I’m like, ‘OK, simply don’t fall, I’m too drained. Let’s simply do a program and don’t fall.’ So there are days like that. I’m a really critical particular person however I don’t actually act prefer it on the ice. I attempt to have extra enjoyable, I attempt to simply get pleasure from myself and on the identical time, I’m very critical despite the fact that I could not seem like it.

SN: How impacted are you by your environment, the crowds, their reactions if you’re skating?

Daleman: I’m very conscious of the gang however once I get on the market and I take a look at the rink and I see the gang earlier than my six-minute warmup, I can really feel the gang’s power. However as soon as my program comes on, as soon as it’s my time, every little thing simply goes silent, I don’t hear something. I can hear clapping, but it surely’s form of like a background noise in a method. I am going into my very own zipper world the place it’s simply me, nobody else is there and I simply get to do what I really like. It’s the identical off the ice. I don’t take note of anybody off the ice. I simply do my very own factor. I name it my little bubble.”

SN: What did your efficiency on the world championships final 12 months accomplish for you?

Daleman: That was probably the most eventful worlds. I used to be sick. I stated to my coach, ‘I simply don’t have the power to do something.’ It was what I ended up needing surgical procedure on and I simply keep in mind going into worlds and Manon Perron, I work along with her, as soon as a weekend she involves Toronto, she stated to me, ‘It’s a must to go into worlds understanding you’re going to medal as a result of I do know you’re going to medal.’ I used to be like, ‘No, no, no.’ And he or she was like, ‘Gabby, it’s a must to know.’ I used to be like, ‘OK, I’m sorry, I’ll imagine.’ So I went into that worlds so assured, even once I wasn’t feeling effectively, my teaching staff was assured, my mother and father and pals had been assured, my training-mate Javier Fernandez was assured in me and believed in me greater than I did. Earlier than my lengthy program, I keep in mind him sitting there with me for 2 hours whereas I did my hair and make-up, watching me and speaking to me, and simply having that consolation particular person there actually helped me. Actually, sure it’s my job to do it, but it surely was my teaching staff, and my pals and my teammates who actually helped me get the place I used to be at worlds this 12 months.

READ: Right here’s why some Olympic athletes ‘choke’ on the Winter Video games

SN: Why did you have got a lot doubt?

Daleman: I’m only a very arduous particular person on myself. My outdated coaches had been very, very arduous on me. They all the time advised me if higher was attainable, good isn’t adequate so I by no means felt like I used to be adequate. It wasn’t till some time in the past when my coach jogged my memory that I’m adequate and I’m really higher than I feel I’m. It simply took me some time to belief myself and it was really at nationals (in 2016) once I first trusted myself. Then I did it once more at 4 Continents, after which at worlds and I ended up medalling at my first worldwide, after which at championships, in order that’s what actually turned my mindset round, to be assured. The arrogance I do know I’ve and that I say I’ve, however for me to imagine it and for me to belief myself and know that I’m really good or higher than I feel I’m, and when different individuals see me, actually has made all of the distinction on the earth.

SN: Why does confidence matter a lot?

Daleman: It issues as a result of if I don’t imagine in myself, then I’m going to do extra injury than good. I don’t usually watch myself skate, or essentially watch different individuals determine skate, however I ended up watching myself skate and I used to be like, ‘You might be higher than you assume you’re, you are able to do this. Individuals wouldn’t be saying they wish to be such as you or I encourage them for those who weren’t good.’ That actually opened my eyes.

Canada's Scott Moir, left to right, Tessa Virtue, Eric Radford, Meagan Duhamel, Kaetlyn Osmond, Gabrielle Daleman, and Patrick Chan

Canada’s Scott Moir, left to proper, Tessa Advantage, Eric Radford, Meagan Duhamel, Kaetlyn Osmond, Gabrielle Daleman and Patrick Chan have fun their gold medal victory within the staff determine skating occasion on the Pyeonchang Winter Olympics on Feb. 12, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

SN: What made you resolve to get entangled in your anti-bullying work?

Daleman: “I spoke about it as a result of I’m so uninterested in individuals bullying different individuals for who they’re and what they do. We’re all human, all of us do our personal factor, why are you placing them right down to deliver your self up, as a result of it’s not doing anybody any good. I did the video (with CBC) on anti-bullying and it’s months later and I nonetheless can’t deliver myself to look at it. After that video got here out, youngsters who had been bullying me or had been in my class stated they had been sorry and that they didn’t know what they had been doing. I had one lady, who I’ve identified since I used to be three years outdated, I don’t actually speak to her a lot, she watched the video and he or she messaged me saying she’s so sorry. I stated, ‘You didn’t do something, you weren’t considered one of them,’ and he or she’s like, ‘I do know, I didn’t aid you. I used to be there each day in school and I didn’t assist.’ In order that message she despatched me, it was like I’m beginning to make a distinction. I went on the Stars on Ice tour and I had youngsters come as much as me within the meet and greet saying that as a result of they noticed me communicate out, that they’ve gone to oldsters, they’ve stood as much as their bullies, they’ve helped pals who’re being bullied. That was one thing I used to be so happy with.

READ: Down, however by no means out: Kaetlyn Osmond is a risk to win gold

SN: When did your experiences with bullying begin?

Daleman: It began once I was in junior kindergarten and it began getting a lot worse as I obtained older. I used to be a determine skater and a gymnast on the identical time so my shoulders are broad, I’m not ashamed of them, I’m not ashamed of how sturdy my legs are and stuff and it saved getting worse and worse as I obtained older. The extra I went to skating, I’d get in bother as a result of I’ve a studying incapacity so I’d fall even additional behind, however I’m doing one thing I really like and wish to progress in. I’d get in bother and criticized for that, getting criticized for a way I look and never being fairly sufficient to be a skater, I’m not the best way a skater ought to look. I’ve been known as too fats, too muscular, like a person by youngsters in my class. They had been absolutely the worst and to today, they made my college expertise up till I went to the Olympics absolute hell. For 12 years I used to be depressing each day going to high school as a result of I used to be getting made enjoyable of for one thing I can’t management. I’m 11 years outdated, I’m not going to be carrying full-blown make-up each day, the one time I did was at competitors. I see women now which might be 13 years outdated they usually seem like they’re 19. Make-up is nice, however don’t really feel like it’s a must to put on it to impress different youngsters in your class, to impress a boy. Put on it if it makes you’re feeling good however simply know you’re lovely with or with out make-up. To today, I’m 20 years outdated, and I nonetheless wrestle with it. It took me so lengthy to appreciate I don’t should put on make-up round somebody.

SN: That’s lots to take care of at a younger age. Sports activities can generally be a haven below these circumstances. Did studying to deal with every little thing aid you as an athlete?

Daleman: It undoubtedly did. After I was bullied, they advised me I might by no means go to the Olympics, I might by no means be a Canadian champion, I might by no means be on the world podium and I might by no means be on the Olympic podium sooner or later. It has made me work that a lot more durable to only show them improper a lot each day. I work so arduous each day, I understand how arduous I work, and you’ll see what occurs on the ice, however no person is aware of what occurs behind the scenes, nobody is aware of what occurs personally, nobody is aware of if somebody goes by a tough time, in the event that they’re OK, what’s occurring. I noticed this tweet and it actually hit house for me. It stated smile on the individuals you see since you by no means know in the event that they want a smile or not. Individuals like to deliver you down, however I’m going to dwell my life, and it’s undoubtedly introduced me to the place I’m as we speak, made me a stronger particular person. Massive time.

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