The entirety of all that Carol Huynh has ever accomplished in her life made her an ideal choice for the role of Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the upcoming 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio. That the two-time Olympic medalist in wrestling, and CSI Calgary Next Generation coach, was handpicked for the job astonished Huynh, "I was surprised, bigtime surprised! I heard through the grapevine last fall that it might happen, but when the call came in October I was still surprised. It boggles my mind that they chose me."
If you look closely at Huynh's long career in sport, first as an athlete, then advocate, coach and now mentor, it should come as no surprise that she was chosen to serve as Assistant Chef. But it's not medals and accolades that make Huyhn, a former CSI Calgary athlete, the right person for the job, it's her spirit and knowledge, and the desire to share it with the athletes – all of them. "I'm not there just to support the medalists," she says. "I see myself being there as much for the athletes that didn't quite do as well as they hoped."
Brimming with infectious enthusiasm, Huynh relishes the opportunity to fulfill her role as team spokesperson, leader, mentor and cheerleader. "It's a great opportunity for me to be on Team Canada in a totally different way. I can bring my different experiences to the table. In Beijing I came in as an underdog and left as an Olympic champion, and in London I came in as the favourite and with that extra pressure I had a lower result than I had hoped for."
The same attributes that made her so successful as an athlete now influence the way she coaches. Endless dissection of every move, every thought and comment. When her athletes are less successful than she had hoped, there is thoughtful introspection about what she could have done or said differently that might have made a difference. "I'm still quick to blame myself!" she says.
But perhaps the profound experience of having to fight for the inclusion of her sport in the Olympic Games is at the heart of what she will bring with her to Rio. It came as a total shock to Huynh when, in 2013 the IOC voted wrestling out of the core sports for the Olympic Summer Games beginning in 2020. "For the first time I looked at the sport differently, beyond myself. I saw it from the grassroots level and from an international perspective, where kids all over the world dream of being an Olympian in their sport, or they just love to play a sport. It touches so many people and opens opportunities."
The vote spurred Huynh to fight the sport's ousting and she worked hard within the wrestling community to get the sport reinstated, an effort that was ultimately successful and which led to her election as the chairperson of the International Wrestling Federation's new Athletes' Commission. "I have been a part of, and witness to, a lot of great change in our sport. I feel very glad that all happened because so many things in our sport needed to be changed."
This relentless determination to fight – on the mat, for her athletes, for her sport – has galvanized an Olympic spirit in Huynh that is unwavering. When asked what keeps her so deeply entrenched in both wrestling and the Olympic movement, Huynh laughs, "I ask myself the same question!"
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum annual Induction Banquet is on Jun 3, 2016.
More than 600 people from across the provinces and United States attend this gala event to honour Alberta's great athletes, sport builders, pioneers, and media personnel. At this prestigious event 11 extraordinary Albertans that have made an impact on sport in our province, country and around the world are honoured. The event not only honours these great Albertans but it recognizes the importance of sport in our lives and communities.
Mark your calendars for the 2016 Induction Banquet!
24th Annual Golf Tournament
August 4, 2016 at the Innisfail Golf Club
We are looking for some enthusiastic golfers to take part in our annual Golf Tournament. Fingers crossed for clear skies! If you are interested in taking part in our 2016 tournament, please contact the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum at 403-341-8614. You can download the forms for Registration or Sponsorship below.
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum invites you to our March motivational guest speaker. Inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and RBC Hockey Ambassador, Carla MacLeod will be speaking about her journey as a Gold Medal Olympian.
March 17, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
General Public is regular admission
- $5/Adult $3/Youth (ages 4-17) 3 & under Free
Special Admission rate for Hockey Teams that Pre-Register! $25 includes the players and 2 coaches!
When: February 12, 2016, 8 PM - 10 PM
Where: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, North of 32 St overpass on HWY 2, Red Deer
Admission: $5 per Adult (18+ Event)
No valentine's Date? No Problem! Join us for a Stop Light Night! Come dressed wearing your availability and take part in some exciting challenges, games, and trivia. There will be a Grand Prize draw made at the end of the night!
Never been to a Stop Light Night? Here's the basics. This night is open to everyone; single, taken or even just plain complicated. Show up wearing the colour of your availability and take part in the events going on around you. Teaming up with other similar colours may even win you extra points!
Green - Single
Yellow - Complicated
Red - Taken
See! The colours are simple, so put on your duds and come out for some fun and games! Who knows, you just might meet your Valentine's just in time!
Join us for a fantastic Family Day at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. There will be crafts and special activities, as well as access to all of the interactive games. All ages and mobilities are welcome! Oh and did we mention Hot Chocolate!?
Feb 15, 10am-5pm
Kids: FREE Adults (18+): $5