Lesson learned: Falling down and getting back up in Sochi

If I ever needed a reminder that I'm a rookie when it comes to covering the Olympics, my body gave me one on day three.

CBC Montreal's Doug Gelevan on the indelibility of the Olympic spirit

Me with the Sochi 2014 mascots, Bear and Leopard. (CBC)

If I ever needed a reminder that I'm a rookie when it comes to covering the Olympics, my body gave me one on day three.

I had been in Sochi for one week. The adrenaline boost of being at the biggest show on earth was waning under the physical avalanche that was crashing down on my sleepless body.

We've been working 12 to 16 hours days. There are no days off and I didn't help myself by making a terrible mistake and eating an expired frozen pizza. I was flattened.

The 'dinner' that ultimately caused my body to turn on me.

I thought I had pushed myself to my physical and emotional limits before, but no football training camp, no amount of local or national news, no Habs playoff run, nothing had really prepared me for this assignment.

Emotionally and physically, covering the games is a marathon not a sprint.

Luckily, the body has a fantastic ability to adapt and, after 24 hours of battling though pain (and a hug from some Sochi mascots), I'm back on track.

I feel with a week of Olympic reporting under my belt, I have a much better idea, in a broadcasting sense, when I need to sprint and when to pace myself to be ready for the next sprint.

The Nordic broadcast team (left to right) Beckie Scott, me, Karen Larsen, Jack Sasseville and Amy Smolens.

I just have to look to the people around me.

I'm working with people who have dozens of years of Olympic experience.

They are brilliant, talented and know what it takes to get the job done (and, my gosh! Beckie Scott is an actual Olympic champion! It's absolutely humbling to be able to call her my colleague).

And if that is not enough, there is nothing more motivating than the athletes who are competing right in front of me.

On the night of day three, we all watched as Quebec's Jean-Philippe LeGuellec competed in the biathlon pursuit.

Midway through the race, he was in the lead and was looking unstoppable.

But, he lost control coming around the corner of a fast downhill portion of the course, wiped out, and broke his ski. In an instant, his medal hopes were dashed.

In the post race interview, I was expecting to speak to a man who just had his dreams crushed.

But LeGuellec never broke his ear-to-ear smile.

"I put my fist through a wall. But that's sports," he said.

LeGuellec walking through the mixed zone after our interview. (Doug Gelevan/CBC)
 A slip was not going to break this Olympian's spirit.

There are a dozen more days to go and several more events.

LeGuellec inadvertently taught me a lesson I'll never forget.

Falling is part of sports as well as part of the Olympics.

And whether you've slipped in an Olympic final, or eaten an expired pizza, getting up always feels better than staying down.