At launch of Halifax Canada Games, Olympic medallist encourages hopefuls to follow dreams - Metro US

At launch of Halifax Canada Games, Olympic medallist encourages hopefuls to follow dreams

When four-time Olympic medalist Jennifer Botterill was a young athlete, she told her dad about her dream of going to the Olympics.

“I didn’t know if it was possible,” she said. “And he said, ‘why not you? If someone else is going to be at that Olympic game playing hockey for Team Canada, why can’t it be you?’

“That’s something I think about quite often, the whole idea of believing in yourself and having high standards to strive towards,” she said Monday.

A member of the Canadian women’s hockey team since 1997, Botterill has attended four Olympic Games, including the recent games in Vancouver.

While training for the Canada Games, Botterill – who helped launch the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games on Parliament Hill Monday – learned an important lesson that has stayed with her since.

“I do everything that I possibly can every single day to be my best and to reach my dreams,” she said.

Officials lit the Halifax 2011 Canada Games torch for the first time at the Centennial Flame Monday.

“In just over nine months from now, the torch will make its way to Nova Scotia,” said Halifax mayor Peter Kelly.

The Canada Games have evolved to become one of the most prestigious events for Canada’s next generation, said Sue Hylland, president and CEO of the Canada Games Council.

“Canada Games alumni continue to make us proud, by using the Canada Games as a stepping stone to move onto further success.

“Canada Games alumni contributed to 16 of the 26 medals won at the (Vancouver) Games,” said Hylland. “So in many ways, the Canada Games are Canada’s Olympics for our young developing kids.”

The 2011 Canada Games will be held from Feb. 11 to 27, 2011 and will involve more than 2,700 athletes from 13 provinces and territories competing in more than 20 sports.

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