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Photo Courtesy of Rosannagh (Rosie) MacLennan


Rosannagh (Rosie) MacLennan – A Talk with a Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist

I think that you'll never take the path that you plan on taking, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.”

Canadian Rosie MacLennan won gold in trampoline in the London 2012 Olympics. Dancing Owl spoke with her about her journey to winning the gold and her plans for the future.

Ms. MacLennan, congratulations on winning the women's trampoline Gold! How did you discover your passion for the trampoline and what journey did you take to winning the gold?

I started off when I was little, doing a lot of different activities. My family was very actively involved in a number of different sports like skiing and water sports. When my older sibling switched over from gymnastics into trampoline, I tagged along. I always loved trampoline. I never wanted to give it up because I liked it so much. I started competing when I was nine and I started competing internationally when I was eleven. I made my way onto the senior team when I was sixteen. And I’ve competed there ever since.

Your motto is focus on what you can control, have faith in what you don't. What led you to choosing that motto in particular?

You have a lot of control over your own training, your own practices, your own effort, and your own goals. But no matter how good a performance you put out there, you can't control what others are going to do. So you have to just focus on what you are doing and what you are able to do. And the rest of it will work itself out. There's no point stressing about other people and things you don't have control over because it is a waste of energy.

When competing, do you concentrate on beating other competitors or on doing your personal best?

I focus on doing my personal best.  As I was saying before, if you focus on how you can do the best routine possible then you're going to put yourself in a better position. For me personally, if I start thinking about the other people and beating other people then I focus less on the task at hand.

Please describe competition day in London. How did you feel before you competed and what was it like the moment you won the Gold?

There were a lot of different parts to it. During the warm-up I was a little bit nervous but trying to just stay focused on my routines and my skills and the things that I had to focus on. In my routine and then marching out into the stadium it was a little bit overwhelming because there are 17,000 people there watching you. But I actually found my family in the stands and that was very comforting because I knew those anchors, those people in my life, those aspects of my life would never change regardless of what happened. Between my two routines I was allowed to go to the warm-up hall and I started really remembering that I loved this sport and why I was doing it. And that this sport was my passion and I did it for myself. I knew that I was prepared and that eased a lot of my nerves going into my second routine. From then on to the finals I knew I had absolutely nothing to lose. So I really just tried to take in the moment and enjoy it.

So what was it like when you won the gold? How did it feel?

It was very surreal - pure joy, but very surreal. Something you kind of dream of, something that's obviously the goal you're working towards but it’s very surreal when it actually happens. It’s like a dream come true.

What are Canada House and the Village like in London?

The Village is like a small city. It is a gated community of apartment buildings, at least in London. It is filled with athletes. When you look out the window, you see people running and speed walking and doing biometrics in the field and training and boxing in the field. So it’s pretty interesting. It is also really inspiring because everyone is there because they love sport. They love what they do and they've persevered to reach the highest level of sport. Canada house was great because it was like a home away from home. You feel nothing but love and support from your country and the people there. It’s a place for everyone to kind of come together.

What response have you had from the public since your win?

I’ve received a lot of really kind words and positive feedback. A lot of people are saying they are really proud of what I accomplished and that I was a great representative for Canada - a lot of really nice compliments.

You visited schools since returning from London. What is the most common question that students ask you and how do you answer it?

I don't know if there is a common question. A lot of people ask about the sport itself. What it involves and how I got into it. Also, what was it like winning the gold. You get so many different questions. Kids are pretty creative.

Are you enjoying graduate school and what are your interests when you are off the trampoline?

I am enjoying graduate school. I'm a little bit behind in it at the moment, but trying to catch up. I really like the field of study that I'm in. Aside from trampoline, I like doing anything active, anything outdoors. I love going on random adventures.

What kinds of adventures?

Anything … like traveling to different places with friends or my family, trying new things, going wave boarding and snow boarding in new places, having new experiences.

What are you studying at graduate school?

My program is exercise science and I'm looking at athletes’ involvement in social initiatives.

That's interesting. What kind of course work do you do?

Right now I'm taking a house communication course and a non-profit consulting class.

What plans to you have for the future, in terms of trampoline and also in general?

In trampoline, I plan to keep training towards the Pan Am games in 2015 in Toronto and then Rio after that. I plan to learn new skills and try new routines. Outside of that, I’ll finish my Masters degree. In terms on an actual career goal, I'm not to sure. I'll see what opens up.

Ms. MacLennan, your story is truly inspiring. What advice do you have for young people about pursuing their passions and their dreams?

I think it is really important to find something that you're really passionate about because that's where you're going to enjoy yourself the most and feel the most fulfillment. Once you find that, it's important to always believe in yourself and keep trying the best that you can. But do not take the process for granted because a lot of times the only guarantee that you have is that you can try to work towards the goal. And you learn a lot more out of the journey and the processes you take as you work towards that goal, than you learn from just accomplishing the goal itself. So be open to the good days, the bad days, learn from both and just keep pushing.

What is the most important lesson you've learned from all your experiences with the Olympics?

It’s to enjoy the process … really enjoy every moment of it … appreciate the challenges and the obstacles. And I think that you'll never take the path that you plan on taking, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You have to be open.

Thank you so much. It was great talking to you!

For more information on Rosie MacLennan, visit her Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/RosieMacLennanTrampoline.

This transcript has been abridged and edited slightly to improve readability.

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All photos courtesy of Rosannagh (Rosie) MacLennan.