The Canadian sports scene is no stranger to challenges. From the intricate adventure of rafting on the Athabasca River to driving a sleigh through the marshes of the Bay of Fundy and rappelling around the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, Canadian athletes have been pushing their limits for years. But what about the coaches? With 25 participating Canadians divided into six teams, the stakes are high for those who are tasked with guiding them to success. Clara Hughes, one of the coaches featured in CBC's Canada's Ultimate Challenge, knows this all too well.
She has seen her athletes face disappointment and failure, but she also knows that it doesn't define them. “I think our team has been keeping this in mind for the past few months, and we've listened to many of our best athletes talk about how to adapt, focus on what they can control and keep as calm and professional as possible,” she says. Luke Junio, another coach on the show, comes from a different background than his fellow coaches. Unlike them, he is not an Olympian but rather comes from the pressing world of the NFL.
When training for Canada's Ultimate Challenge, he learned a valuable lesson: “I need to come up with a good plan so they don't have to invent things.” Each coach brought a different range of experiences and styles to the game. Luke says that some of the results will surprise people, but he has to keep quiet about what happens throughout the eight episodes of Canada's Ultimate Challenge. For CBC, it is a priority to create products that are accessible to everyone in Canada, including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive problems. As one of six coaches in the CBC series, Luke spent July guiding his four-person “Orange Team” through several grueling obstacles across the country. It is clear that Canadian coaches face many challenges today.
From adapting to different styles and experiences to creating accessible products for all Canadians, they must be prepared for anything. But with their hard work and dedication, they can help their athletes reach their full potential.