Olympic champion gives advice to son and young curlers ahead of Lausanne2020
Jamie Rankin, 16, is an aspiring Scottish curler from Elgin, who has recently been selected to represent Great Britain at the winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, in Switzerland.
Curling at the Games will be held in Champery from 10 to 22 January 2020.
Jamie’s mum is Janice Rankin, a retired Scottish curler, who represented Great Britain and won gold at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, United States.
Needless to say, Janice and Jamie are equally excited about Jamie’s participation at the Games in Switzerland.
“Sometimes, I will ask Mum about the Olympics if I want to know more about her experience,” said Jamie. “Often it is prompted by an Olympic story in the news or on TV and I ask if it was the same for her.”
The topic about participation at the Olympics is a more frequent subject of conversation between them since Jamie has been selected to represent Team GB.
Jamie continued, “It is more of a topic at home now and Mum has been reminding me what an achievement it is to be selected. She will share information whilst we are doing things in the house and her advice is always to enjoy the moment. Also, to make new friends within Team GB and other teams and to be a good ambassador for Great Britain and to represent myself well.
“She has also told me that I should try to avoid having any regrets or wishing I had visited somewhere or spoken to another athlete whilst I am there – just to take in the whole experience.”
Janice Rankin played lead for Rhona Martin’s all-Scottish rink in the Weber County Ice Sheet in 2002, where the quartet made history by winning Great Britain’s first Olympic gold medal in women’s curling.
As the first winter Youth Olympic Games was held in 2012, Janice did not have the opportunity to take part in such an event as a teenager. She thinks that it is a great competition to prepare young athletes for the Olympic Games.
“I think it is a fantastic event and a great introduction to the Games environment for younger athletes,” said Janice. “Watching the Olympics on TV gives you a taste of the event, but for young athletes to get an experience of the Olympics, it helps to spur them on and motivate them as they chase their dreams. It is a great platform and really helps to prepare athletes for the future.”
Janice finds the concept of the Youth Olympic Games, an exceptional moment for intercultural exchange. She continued, “For the curlers, after the team event, they mix up the nationalities for the mixed doubles event and I think that really promotes the spirit of the Olympics, with sport and friendship uniting athletes together. It is a great opportunity for young athletes to mix with different cultures and backgrounds and to learn from that whole experience.”
Janice is closely following the process Team GB athletes go through for Lausanne 2020 and finds it very similar to what she experienced in the lead-up to the Olympic Winter Games in 2002.
First time competing abroad
She said, “Watching Jamie go through the same procedures we did, travelling down to London to Team GB for a kitting out day and getting lots of information about different aspects of the Games, as well as the training days, it is all very similar to what we went through. Once they are in Lausanne they will stay in the Olympic village and the venues will be set up for the Games with an athletes’ lounge etcetera, replicating what life is like during Games time.”
This is going to be Jamie’s first tournament outside of Scotland. He can’t wait to hit the ice at the Champery Curling Arena with teammates Ross Craik, Hannah Farries and Robyn Mitchell.
“The most exciting part of this is getting the opportunity to compete whilst representing Team GB and getting the experience of an Olympic environment,” Jamie said. “It will be a totally new experience with coaches on the bench, crowds watching us compete, it will be a very professional environment and I am really looking forward to that. Overall, I am most looking forward to getting on the ice for the matches, competing whilst wearing the Team GB kit as I know that will give me a huge sense of pride.”
Janice supports Jamie both as a caring mum and as a former Olympic athlete.
She finished, “I know that if Jamie embraces it all and enjoys it, he will play much better. He knows he has a job to do out there and he wants to make sure he gives it 100 per cent. I have also reminded him that if he has one bad game, he needs to pick himself up and move on to the next. One bad game does not turn you into a bad curler, but it helps you to learn and to focus on the next game.”
Absorb as much as you can
The Olympic champion has some pieces of advice for all athletes that will get on the ice in Champery, “My advice for the curlers is to enjoy it, to absorb as much as they can from the experience and atmosphere of the event and to give their full focus to every game they play. ”
Written by Mariann Bardocz-Bencsik