Chatting with Olympian Jessica O’Connell

Representing Canada in the 5,000m is Jessica O'Connell. She opens up about her plans for Rio and what she's looking forward to the most.

August 4th, 2016 by | Posted in Rio 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

PAN-AM Games 2015 Toronto. Day One- July 21, 2015- AM Session. Photo: Claus Andersen.
PAN-AM Games 2015 Toronto. Day One- July 21, 2015- AM Session. Photo: Claus Andersen.

This interview appeared in our July/August Olympic issue. 

Event: 5,000m

Canadian Running: How long do you think you’ll spend in Rio?
Jessica O’Connell: The athlete’s village is a very surreal bubble and spending too much time there pre-competition can make you a little bit squirrely– I’ll probably only be there a few days before my race and leave when the games are over.

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CR: Is making the Olympics the accomplishment, or are you setting specific goals for Rio? If so, what are they?
JO: My goal is to make the Olympic final. If I’m going that far, I may as well race twice!

CR: What event do you really want to watch at the Games?
JO: Gymnastics and track cycling. I have a feeling TV doesn’t do them justice.

CR: What are you most excited for in Rio?
JO: Entering the stadium for my race. Everything I’ve done in sport has led to that moment.

CR: What’s the best part about being an Olympian?
JO: Achieving something I’ve worked towards my whole life. As well, the Olympics bring out a strong sense of community in Canadians, and it’s very very neat to be engulfed in the experience first-hand.

Did you know?

O’Connell has battled her fair share of adversity to get to Rio: she suffered from anemia, caught pneumonia and was hit by a car, dislocating her shoulder.