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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.

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.