The Doc Project

'I was a gymnast. And then, I wasn't': Saying goodbye to your dream at 16

A lot of us define ourselves by our jobs. Which is why people often struggle when the time comes to retire. The girl at the heart of this documentary was forced to retire from a promising gymnastics career — she was competing at a national level and was Olympics-bound — because of injury.
(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
A lot of us define ourselves by our jobs. 

Which is why people often struggle when the time comes to retire. They don't know who they are any more.

And we're not just talking about people who stop working after a lifetime in a career — the girl at the heart of this documentary is 17. (We are not using her name because she's young and she asked us not to.)

This documentary aired as part of the February 28 broadcast.
Listen to the full show → 

She retired from a promising rhythmic gymnastics career — she was competing at a national level and was Olympics-bound — about a year ago because of an injury.

And retirement? She still hasn't accepted it.

From documentary producer Jess Shane, this is Dear Dream. Edited by Alison Cook, with music by Chris Zabriskie.

Producer's Notebook

What do you do when the story you pitched isn't the one that's unfolding?
What do you do when the story you pitched isn't the one that's unfolding? (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

By Jess Shane

As documentarians, we know we can't control what we'll discover when we're in the field. Sometimes the story we find diverges from the story we anticipated. And since making a doc is a negotiation between recording life accurately and rendering it artfully, it's dangerously easy to put up blinders to the reality of what's occurring in front of the microphone. Continue reading →

About the producer

Jess Shane
Jess Shane is an emerging radio producer and freelance multimedia storyteller with a passion for human interest journalism and immersive sound design. Her love for radio was born of her work as a community artist with Making Room Community Arts, where she collaborated with a team of artists and community members to design site-specific art and sound installations. She has recently begun working with CBC Toronto as a production assistant for As It Happens. This project is her first long-form radio documentary.