Name: Kyle Shewfelt
Occupation: Speaker, Event Host and Broadcaster
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself
A: I’m a proud born-and-raised Calgarian. I went to the National Sport School and studied broadcasting and entrepreneurship at Mount Royal University. I love running (just ran the Calgary Marathon in May!), hiking (I zip up the Douglas Fir trail at least a couple times a week with my dog, Cooper) and I can play a pretty mad game of bocce at Sandy Beach Park (a good ol’ Big Rock Grasshopper beer always seems to make me better). You can also find me out with my girlfriend, Kristin, and friends at Local 510 or frequenting the River Park dog park.
Q: How did you get started in gymnastics?
A: I was 6 and my mom was sick and tired of me jumping on the bed and cartwheeling around the house so she decided to put me in the gym. I instantly fell in love with the sport and never looked back.
Q: What was the best part about being a competitive athlete?
A: Finding a way to push through the tough stuff in order to succeed. Gymnastics is a sport that continually tests you and your will and I loved finally feeling progress after 1000 repetitions. Traveling the world with your coach and teammates while living your ultimate dream is pretty rad too!
How did you keep motivated?
Coming to gym with daily goals and accepting nothing less than my best effort on every occasion possible. Without a goal, I felt lost (still do, in fact!). Pushing yourself far past the point of comfort is impossible without a really resonating and meaningful purpose and for me that was always chasing the potential of being my absolute best on the Olympic stage.
Q: What’s your favorite Olympic memory – Athens or otherwise?
Athens was obviously incredible for so many reasons. The stars definitely aligned on that night of the finals – my family was in the audience, it was the first gold for Canada and it was the last competition I would experience with my coach of 16 years, Kelly Manjak, because he was moving to Ontario. I cried a lot of joyous and grateful tears in the weeks after that experience, let me tell ya! I also fondly (although vaguely) remember getting super bombed at a Blue Rodeo concert with Simon Whitfield at my first Olympics in Sydney and then the overwhelming sense of pride I felt while competing in Beijing after breaking my legs 11 months before.
Q: Where do you keep your gold medal?
A: It’s usually in my office in a safe place. I do a lot of speaking engagements and events and I often bring it with me. I joke that I’m with the FBI and I’m collecting fingerprints on it I’m a firm believer that an Olympic medal is pretty meaningless unless you share all of the good things it represents with your community. Otherwise it’s just a hunk of Gold.
Q: How has life been post-gymnastics?
A: Post gymnastics has been really enjoyable and interesting. I started gymnastics when I was 6 so I didn’t know much else. It’s definitely taken me some time to adjust to life outside of sport, but I’ve been blessed with some pretty cool opportunities. I love being able to explore new avenues and take on new challenges and I’ve had a blast with my speaking/hosting career and I really enjoy the television work as well. I’m beyond psyched to be a part of the Olympic coverage with CTV this summer and I hope I can continue to be involved in a broadcasting role for many years to come. Biggest thing I’ve found since retiring from sport is how much my body and mind crave exercise and a sense of challenge. I’ve also really enjoyed being involved in my community projects such as The Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics Festival and my work with Kidsport, Right to Play and Special Olympics.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in London 2012?
A: I am most looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds. I can hardly stand the anticipation!! I have my predictions and I want to see if the favourites can deliver under Olympic sized pressure. I am cheering for the Canadians, obviously, but I am also a big fan of the Americans, the Chinese, the Romanians, the Russians and the Brits. Heck, I like everyone and have so much respect for all Olympians.
Q: What makes Calgary awesome?
A: Calgary is awesome because it’s full of good people with good hearts who not only want to do good things, they actually do them! Oh, and the outdoor spaces are great to play in too.
Photo credits: Dave Holland, Jennifer Isbister and PHOTOPHILCRO