‘We’re aiming for top position on the podium’: Team Canada chef de mission
She may be Team Canada’s leader at the 2018 Winter Games, but Isabelle Charest says she feels more like a “big sister” to the athletes competing in Pyeongchang.
“I’m there just to cheer everybody up…and to make everybody happy,” the former short-track speedskater and three-time Olympic medallist told CTV’s Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme.
“I feel that being part of a team means so much and it’s so powerful,” Charest said.
Asked about Team Canada’s medal goals in South Korea, the chef de mission said it’s hard to come up with a specific target.
“What we want to focus on is to make sure the athletes have the environment in order to perform and we are aiming for top position on the podium,” she said.
Charest has competed in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Games, winning medals in the 3,000-metre relay. And although she was briefly tempted by the short track she checked out in Pyeongchang, she said she doesn’t really speedskate anymore.
“I put my hockey skates on but not my short track skates,” she said.
But Charest loves returning to the Winter Games even though she is no longer a competitor.
“When I come back to the Games … this feeling is still alive and still very vivid so it’s everything,” she said.
Charest was Canada’s chef de mission at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016. She was also the assistant chef at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Canada has sent 225 athletes and 87 coaches to Pyeongchang, the country’s largest-ever delegation for a Winter Games.
With a report from CTV’s Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme and files from The Canadian Press