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Kelly Mahoney, Director, Career Development Centre, Asper School of Business.

Recollections from the Games: Kelly Mahoney

U of M's Kelly Mahoney competed at the 1977 Canada Summer Games in Newfoundland

August 10, 2017 — 

In this second week of the 2017 Canada Games, swimming is one of the feature events for athletes and spectators alike. And to coincide with the celebration of aquatic sport our final “Recollections from the Games” feature highlights a Canada Games swimming alumni.

Kelly Mahoney is the Director of the Career Development Centre at the Asper School of Business. Mahoney competed at the 1977 Canada Summer Games in Newfoundland in the sport of swimming and is currently an International Triathlon Union (ITU) and Triathlon Canada technical official selected to officiate at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

She has officiated at numerous major international competitions including the 2016 and 2008 Olympic Games, the 2014 Commonwealth and 2015 Pan Am Games.

Mahoney also had a role at this summer’s Canada Games as part of the Sport Organizing Committee for triathlon.

What is your favorite memory from your time at the Canada Games?

For me it was completely different from participating at a regular swim meet. First of all, it was quite competitive to be named to the team and I was one of the youngest competitors. So to have reached that goal, wear the Team Manitoba uniform and to receive accolades from friends and family was thrilling.

And when we finally arrived on “The Rock” it was my first time in Newfoundland and my first time at a multi-sport games. I roomed with another swimmer and two divers which was really fun. It was great to be with, and interact with, athletes from other sports. To cheer them on as they competed and vice versa.

We were in the last week so we attended the closing ceremonies which included the parade of athletes by province – it’s amazing to have experienced that.

I remember they had Newfie dogs as mascots, and when they set off the fireworks, the dogs went crazy – running all over the field.

I also met Scott Russell for the first time, long time CBC sports announcer. Although I’m reluctant to admit it, that experience happened 40 years ago. I continue to be friends with people who were on that Team Manitoba to this day.

How do you feel your Canada Games experience prepared you for other athletic competitions?

It was definitely a highlight of my swimming career. I continued to swim for another four years but was injured the next CSG so was not able to participate. Because I grew up as an athlete and continued to coach well into my 20-30s, I never was far from the sporting venue. In my adult life, I have gone on to participate as a triathlon official at a number of large multisport games, including the CSG in PEI in 2009 where I served as the Chief Race Official.

A number of the young athletes who participated in that CSG went on to compete at high level sporting events including Commonwealth and Olympic Games. It’s pretty amazing to watch their development and their joy at being at their first national event.

What do you think about the U of M being a key hub for this year’s Canada Games?

I think it is a great opportunity for young athletes to share common ground, appreciate other sports and make lifelong friends.

It’s also a chance for the university to play host to these young people as they pursue their dreams to be the best they can be.

I’m excited to be playing a part in this year’s CSG as part of the Sport Organizing Committee for triathlon and I’m thrilled to be working at a place that is welcoming so many young people.

Any words of wisdom for the athletes competing at the games this year?

Enjoy the experience. Take in as many of the other competitions as you can, see the sights and experience the cultural events.

Enjoy making new friends and being with old friends. For some of you, it will be the gateway to greater experiences. For others, it will be the pinnacle of your athletic endeavours. Either way – be proud of making the team and know we are cheering you on!

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