In less than 48 hours, when Team Canada marches into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Pan Am Games, you will be there — in person or in spirit. In fact, so too will every other person who has represented Team Canada … at any Games.

This is what we do. As teammates (past, present and future) we rise together as a single group to let our performances prove our strength, our character and our commitment. That’s why any Opening Ceremony is a big deal for our Team. It’s a representation of who we are. It’s historic. Memorable. Even magical.

But it can’t compare to the feeling of competing to your full potential, or beyond, when it matters most.

“Opening night is incredible. It’s an unforgettable experience,” says Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Marnie McBean. “However, as a team, as athletes, we are prepared to perform at our best during competition. Being smart in our planning for Opening Ceremonies is part of that preparation.”

Indeed, the first priority for every member of Team Canada is performance. And at the end of the day, Opening Ceremonies is effectively a ‘show’ which is not designed with your performance needs in mind. So, to help, McBean (a Canadian  icon, mentor and three-time gold medallist) helped us compile a few different ways for you to ensure you get the most out of your Opening Ceremonies experience – while staying ready to perform at your best.


  • 1CHERISH THE MOMENT: Earning your place behind the flag as a member of this team during Opening Ceremonies is an incredible accomplishment. You will always be a part of Team Canada now – every time we march together. Use the moment to let that fact sink in.

  • 2 – GET A SECOND OPINION: Opening Ceremonies are long and tiring. If you are not properly prepared, or your competition schedule is not ideal, the energy you spend that night can impact your performance plan in a negative way. Be sure to talk with your coach and teammates about your decision to attend the event or not. In many cases, it’s simply not worth it.

  • 3 – CELEBRATE & SUPPORT: Whether you decide to march or not, your influence on Team Canada is no less important. And, like you, your teammates rely on your support. So, if and when the time is right for you, celebrate and support @TeamCanada through your social channels (and of course, whenever you see your teammates in person).

  • 4 – BE PATIENT: As mentioned, Opening night is a long one. It really is a show meant to inspire and celebrate – but a ‘show’ nonetheless. It’s designed to make athletes a part of that show. It’s not designed to help you compete at your best. Its production will require you to be ready early, wait for a long time, take direction, wait some more, then wave to the crowd with thousands of others, packed tightly together. It is an experience, that’s for sure; one that absolutely requires patience.

  • 5 – LOOK UP: When the word ‘Canada’ echoes through the stadium and we take those first steps together into full view, it’s an incredible moment. For many, it’s a dream come true. Take the time to live that dream in real life. Many Olympic veterans have made the mistake of trying to ‘capture’ that first moment on their phone, only to regret not ‘being present’. So, take their advice and look up instead! Look around. Hear the sounds and soak it all in – for you. You deserve that moment. There will be ample time to take photos and share. Those first few steps into the stadium are yours. Own them.

  • 6 – WEAR SENSIBLE SHOES: You know how bad a blister can get. Or any soft-tissue problem for that matter. Opening Ceremonies is not the time to create that kind of problem for yourself. Team Canada will do everything it can to make sure your uniform shoes fit properly. But, hey, they’re your feet and you will be on them for a while that night. So, do what you have to do … and be comfortable.

  • 7 – MAKE NEW FRIENDS: Opening Ceremonies is the only feasible opportunity for all of Team Canada to physically be in the same place, at the same time. That’s exclusive company. So, take the chance to meet new people, share how special the moment truly is and get to know a few of your new teammates. (There are hundreds of them!)

  • 8 – FUEL UP: There will be many opportunities to stay hydrated. Make sure you take advantage of them. However, there won’t be a lot of food on site. Be sure to plan your snacks ahead of time. If you can, try to take them with you. Be warned, however, knapsacks are not allowed. Do what you can to make sure you are fuelled up.

  • 9 – TRUST YOUR PROCESS: The evening won’t run like a well-oiled machine. It surely won’t resemble the intelligent planning you are used to before an important physical performance. That’s OKAY! Just remember you chose to participate this night and be okay with that. You will be prepared. After all, if we fixate on the negatives we miss out on the incredible positives.

  • 10 – TRUST THE DECISION: To march or not to march…that is a big question, especially for a team which needs to make a ‘group’ decision. Know that coaches and team leaders have put a lot of thought and hard work into Games-specific planning, which includes Opening night. Be sure to discuss with them your own thoughts and wishes. Once everything is aligned, you can have confidence in the plan and trust the final decision.


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