Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/8/2018 (1142 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
All you have to do is walk into Janine Stephens’ office at the Winnipeg Rowing Club to see her love for her home province.
The walls are painted yellow and black — the colours worn by the Manitoba provincial team — her Team Manitoba jacket from last summer’s Canada Games is hung by the door, and the provincial flag is proudly displayed on the wall above her desk. She proudly wears a silver Manitoba shaped pendant, too.
"Absolutely," said Stephens, when asked the painfully obvious question of if she’s a proud Manitoban. "And always have been."
Stephens, née Hanson, is a two-time Olympic rower for Canada, winning a silver medal at the 2012 Games in London as a member of the women’s eights rowing team. After her medal-winning performance, she retired from the sport and soon after moved back to Winnipeg, where she began to volunteer at the Winnipeg Rowing Club as a coach.
"We didn’t have a provincial coach for a while, so I was (coaching) afternoons with six-month-old twins and trading them off with my husband and then kind of getting here, then taking the bus home, so it was a bit of a nightmare," said Stephens, 35, on her start as a coach.
"I kept doing a little bit of coaching and it was my husband that finally said, ‘When you come home from coaching, you’re so excited. It’s ridiculous to listen to you talk. Why don’t you pursue this?’ and I was like, ‘All right, maybe I should.’"
And that’s exactly what she did. In May 2017, Stephens was hired as the high-performance coach for the Manitoba Rowing Association, weeks before the Canada Summer Games.
Stephens now coaches around 10 athletes at the high-performance level, with several of them being hopefuls for the Canadian national team. Manitoba has sent more rowers to the Summer Olympics and Paralympics than any other sport in the province and Stephens wants to see the sport continue to grow.
"I had such a great experience with going out into the world and learning to row, learning about other things and places," said Stephens, who rowed for the University of Michigan from 2002-06.
"I just want to get more people involved in the Canada Games for rowing and then send them off to school and when they learn all these great things, they can come back to Winnipeg and keep growing rowing. That’s my plan."
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.