West Vancouver mom defies odds, volunteers for third Winter Olympics in a row

Busy working mom Jenny Hippel makes time for volunteering for Team Sweden at her third Olympics. The positive experience makes all the prep work she has to do before leaving home worth it.

Jenny Hippel of West Vancouver heads to Pyeongchang — to work for Team Sweden

West Vancouver's Jenny Hippel is about to volunteer for the third time 6:02

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.

"It's fun — it's an incredible experience," she told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's Our Vancouver.

"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.

Watching competition with parents of athletes is a big joy (Jenny Hippel)

Team Sweden

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." 

Support for Team Sweden by driving them around Sochi (Jenny Hippel)

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."