Swimmer Penny Oleksiak is already, at just 21 years old, the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history, with seven medals. Between two major competitions, the last Summer Games in Tokyo and the Worlds to be held next month in Hungary, the Ontarian ensures that she is doing quite well. Meeting with a great champion.
"I've focused a lot on my mental health in recent years and it's paying off, I've simply learned to listen to myself and prioritize the things that make me happy," Oleksiak said in an interview. I'm doing very well right now and I'm excited for the next competitions."
Oleksiak, who shot to fame as a 16-year-old with his four medals at the Rio Olympics, is now managing to better manage his anxiety and performance-seeking obsessive compulsive disorder.
If she has necessarily gained in maturity, the swimmer quickly identifies the animals around her as precious allies. It is in particular a question of his dog Franklin who, thanks to the involvement of the athlete in a project promoting the adoption of shelter animals, suddenly finds himself on packets of toilet paper.
"It was pretty 'cool' to find myself in the past on a box of Cheerios, but it was a little weird," admits Oleksiak, laughing, when asked about it. For Franklin, it's funny to see his face on the packages, he's so handsome and photogenic."
The positive effect of animals
Oleksiak, as spokesperson for Royale's Project A Shelter For Every Friend, also points out that 100,000 cats and dogs are looking for adoption in Canada. His family has often used shelters in the past.
Sensitive to the cause, Oleksiak immediately draws a connection to his own situation by noting that, according to the results of a survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, 95% of Canadians said that their pet had had a positive effect on their Mental Health. This was the case for Oleksiak.
“Absolutely, I can't live without animals, they definitely have a positive effect on me,” she says. It is important to give a second start to these animals who are in shelters and if, by getting involved, I can make people aware of the situation, that makes me really happy.”
Beyond Franklin, it's curious to learn that the Oleksiak family also once had a dog named Jagr. He had obviously inherited this name in honor of the famous hockey player Jaromir Jagr who, for half a season, also played with the big brother, Jamie Oleksiak, with the Dallas Stars.
- The World Swimming Championships will take place from June 18 to July 3, in Budapest, Hungary.
- For the A Shelter for Every Friend Project, Penny Oleksiak invites people to donate at royale.ca/friend for one of the animal shelter partners.
Young Penelope has long been identified as "the little sister of" Jake, Jamie, Hayley and Claire. This was especially the case when we associated him with his big brother Jamie Oleksiak, who has been playing in the National Hockey League for 10 seasons now. Often she was not Penny, but simply Jamie's sister.
Today, it is sometimes the hockey player who is recognized as "Penny's brother". In turn, the Seattle Kraken defender sometimes finds himself in the shadow of the famous 21-year-old swimmer, the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history.
“There are sometimes people who will say that on social networks, simply to annoy or tease him, comes to note Penny, laughing. It's really not something that matters to us. We each have our career and we support each other.”
The swimmer also reveals that she attended the opening match of the Kraken in Seattle with her family last October. However, ten days earlier, she was also at Scotiabank Arena for the first game of the Toronto Maple Leafs at home against the Montreal Canadiens. The camera had also captured it during the game, just above head coach Dominique Ducharme, struggling with his many Olympic medals which had been intertwined.
Despite his 17 points in 72 games in a Kraken uniform, Jamie will not have been entitled to a highlight having been watched so much during the last season.