Yukon Olympian Jeane Lassen is thrilled to be picked as one of four Team Canada athlete mentors for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.
“Our role is to make the athletes feel secure and what they’re experiencing is normal,” said Lassen.
She said mentor positions did not exist when she competed in weightlifting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
It was not the best experience, said Lassen, but there weren’t people around she felt comfortable talking to about her mixed emotions at the event.
“When you’re in the [athlete] village you can feel isolated, you don’t necessarily want to tell your coaches or support team, physio or massage or anything like that, because those are the only people around,” said Lassen.
“So it’s cool to have the idea that you can go and confide in an athlete and it’s not necessarily going to go anywhere,’ she said.
Lassen says she’ll be staffing one of the Team Canada athlete lounges. There will be one lounge at each of the two athlete villages.
Her duties can include “cleaning the bathroom to making coffee to people crying on your shoulder,” she said.
Frustrations for the athletes can come from insecurity or personality clashes with teammates and roommates, she says.
Olympic speedskater Catriona Le May Doan, who called Lassen with the big news, was one of Lassen’s idols when she was young.
“That was a really exciting moment to know that she’s the lead athlete mentor and I get to go to the games with her,” said Lassen.
The other two mentors chosen are rower Julien Bahain and freestyle skier Vincent Marquis.
The four mentors bring years of experience competing at the elite level, according to a release from the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Lassen began competing at the national level at age 14 and continued until her early 30s.