Rosie MacLennan has 'more to give' on the trampoline — and off
Canadian star mulls Olympic three-peat while enriching her life
Rosie MacLennan is the only trampolinist to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, and the only Canadian athlete to successfully defend a title at the Summer Games.
Now she says she's not ruling out an attempt at an Olympic hat trick.
"It's not beyond the realm of possibility," says the 28-year-old from Toronto. "I feel I have more to give on the trampoline."
MacLennan has pretty much won everything there is to win in the world of trampoline, including her two Olympic gold medals, an individual world championship in 2013 and a synchro world title in 2007. Much of her life has centered around competing at the highest level, but it's becoming increasingly clear to her that it takes more than just training to keep her inspired and motivated these days.
"I took a bit of a step away to get more involved in other things outside of sport," MacLennan says.
To that end, MacLennan is connecting with youngsters as part of Canadian Tire's Jumpstart program, which helps kids age 4-18 from families in financial need participate in organized sports by assisting with the cost of registration, equipment, and even transportation.
"When I'm able to spend time with these kids I can see a spark in their eyes and it reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing," MacLennan says. "That spark can get lost at the level of high-performance sport.
"As a kid I dreamed of being an Olympian and I'm reminded of that when I do this work."
As a part of her message to kids across the country, MacLennan is being more candid and more vulnerable about her successes and challenges in sport than at any other time in her career.
There was a time when opening up about difficult times was something she didn't do, but now MacLennan says she wants to be part of changing the culture around sharing the struggles of the athletic experience.
"We sometimes think we're less of an athlete if we open up about those things. I've overcome injuries, I've had fears, and all of those things made me a better athlete."
She says there have been athletes who have shared some of their difficulties with her, and in those moments it made her feel more at ease with some of the reservations she was having about her career.
"That's life. It's not unique to sport," she says. "I hope being this open and vulnerable is the direction sport goes."
MacLennan says she understands how important it is to have role models in the world of athletics, specifically female role models for young women.
For MacLennan, three-time Olympic trampolinist Karen Cockburn and hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser were the two athletes she most looked up to.
"Having strong athlete role models is so important," MacLennan says. "Karen helped guide my athletic career."
She says those role models, combined with having a strong support system comprised of family and friends around her, has allowed her to achieve great moments and ride out the difficult times.
Her message to young women is a simple one:
"Chase the dream. Love the journey. And it will probably take you in directions you never expected."