West Vancouver mom defies odds, volunteers for third Winter Olympics in a row
Jenny Hippel of West Vancouver heads to Pyeongchang — to work for Team Sweden
The third time's a charm.
That's the moniker Jenny Hippel will take to Pyeongchang as she works on her third Winter Olympic games — as a volunteer.
For three consecutive Games, the West Vancouver mom has survived the pool of 70,000 applicants to land the highly coveted role as a Winter Olympics and Paralympics volunteer — and getting to meet a wide array of public figures and athletes along the way.
"The people you meet and being with people that are positive — everyone's working toward the same goal to present a really great Games."
Hippel has had the pleasure of watching some of the most iconic moments in winter sports through her placement — but it's not the red and white that she dons while she's working the international competition.
Hippel is hired by the Olympic Organizing Committee and then loaned out to a country's team. In the past it's been team Sweden because she was born there and is fluent in the language.
Oftentimes, she'll find herself sitting in he stands with parents of the athletes, cheering them on.
But she still wears a maple leaf on her sleeve.
"I'm waving both the Canadian and Swedish flag during the Olympic and Paralympic games," she said. "It's only difficult when it's the hockey gold game with Sweden and Canada — but then it's the best of the best."
A coveted role
For three consecutive Winter Games, Hippel has been one of just over 20,000 volunteers selected to keep the games running smoothly.
The job can be tough, but perhaps even more challenging is managing her family while she's gone. With a husband and three school-aged children, leaving home for a month means planning a lot in advance.
She's already written Valentines Day cards, and purchased birthday gifts for her children's friends for parties that happen while she is away.
And each time, her parents step up to offer a helping hand.
"The kids have a really special relationship with my parents."