| Mar 19, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 19, 2009 Canadian Champions teach smart goalsby Julie Druker

Olympic gold medallist Katie Weatherston (centre) teaches SMART goals at Harrowsmith PS

Last week was “Canadian Champions Week” at Harrowsmith Public School and two athletes, wrestler Jamie Macari and hockey player Katie Weatherston each spoke to students about their careers as athletes and specifically how they have attained their goals.

On Wednesday it was Katie’s turn and she spoke of the long road she’s traveled to achieve her hockey successes which have been many. She has played for Team Canada and various Canadian national teams, and has won numerous medals including a Olympic gold in the 2006 Olympics in Turin where she scored 4 goals, made one assist and scored the game winner in the semi-final victory over Finland.

Katie, who currently plays for the Ottawa Senators in the newly formed Canadian Women's Hockey League team, is a teacher in Ottawa. She also runs her own hockey school and feels a strong desire to get out and speak to younger students. “It’s important after winning a gold medal and being looked upon as a role model to share that with the younger generations. It’s awesome, especially seeing the girls and how excited they get. When I was younger I never had a female role model so I’m hoping to give them something to aspire to”.

She shared her winning strategy or life skills with the HPS students, a strategy that begins by setting SMART goals and persevering through any obstacles that may arise on the way. She summed it up for the kids this way: “ Goal setting is simply having a plan, acting on your plan and it equals getting what you want. And who doesn’t like getting what they want?”

She defined SMART goals as follows: they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Katie set one long-term goal when she was 20: to win a gold medal in Olympic Hockey. Four years later she stood on the podium in Turin with a gold medal in her hand. Katie admitted to the students, “If someone had told me when I was 10 or 11 or 12 that I would one day go to the Olympics I would not have believed you.”

As is usually the case, Katie’s four-year road to her personal goal did not come without a series of difficult obstacles. She focused on these to highlight the importance of persevering through them with patience, positive thinking and hard work.

Obstacle number one was ankle surgery which, though successful, took one year to heal and kept her on crutches for 2 months during training camp for the Olympics.

Obstacle number 2 occurred on the last day of the camp when she was healing well and just about ready to start skating but took an awful spill on her bike. “I was sad and I was angry and I was in pain and I wanted to quit…for a minute.” She overcame that by talking to a friend and refocusing on her short term goals. She decided to improve 1-2% every week. She recalled, “ About 30 weeks later I caught up to everyone and started passing them and that’s how I made the team.”

Her final obstacle occurred also during the Olympic tryouts when her grandmother passed away unexpectedly. Katie again spoke to friends and family and persevered, ultimately making the team and winning the gold in Italy.

And that is not the end of her story. “You don’t just stop once you achieve your goals. You set more goals.” Katie went on to win three more medals after Italy.

Principal Jim Horan, who invited Katie to speak, stated, “She is an amazing individual and really represents the youth of Canada and what we as Canadians can do on the world stage. She inspires our youth that they too can make all of their dreams come true.”

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