By Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
LONDON – When Melanie McCann walked into the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games as part of Team Canada, she was playing out a walk she had rehearsed in her head many times.
“Taking part in the Opening Ceremonies was incredible!” McCann told the Times-Advocate by email last week. “The absolute best moment was walking into the stadium with Team Canada and hearing the crowd roar.
“That has been the highlight of my Olympic experience, by far.”
McCann, 22, will compete in modern pentathlon Aug. 12, the final day of the Games.
The event is made up of five components – epee fencing, 200 metre freestyle swimming, show jumping and a combined three kilometre run-shoot.
McCann said while London is crazy with tourists and Olympic spectators, she doesn’t see much of that.
“Living in the Athlete’s Village is a whole different world,” she explained. “We eat, sleep, and only leave on special buses to go directly to training locations via Olympic lanes so we even bypass all the traffic.”
When reached by the Times-Advocate, McCann was removed from the craziness of the Athlete’s Village, in a town called Hartpury, three hours from London.
She said being away from the Village allows her to focus on her final preparations.
“I am preparing as usual doing three or four events a day,” she said. “The only difference is that my sessions are short and intense. I’ve put in the time and miles earlier in the season so now it’s all about perfecting and reinforcing my competition day plan and feeling good.”
While she was in the Village McCann roomed with Canadian Olympic shooter Dorothy Ludwig and was able to sit in on a few events, such as the men’s 10 metre synchronized diving finals.
“Watching other athletes compete is only getting my engines revving more,” she said. “A few days in the Athlete’s Village was enough time to get a feel for what to expect when I return closer to my event with my game face on.”
She noted she’s feeling strong and confident heading into competition.
“I’ve had a great season and I’m looking to top my previous results,” said McCann who recorded a personal-best seventh-place finish at the World Cup Final in Chengdu, China earlier this year. “I’ve waited for this moment for a long time.”
While she admitted she is nervous, she said she’s excited, too.
“I thrive on the nerves,” she said. “It keeps me so aware and reactive – especially starting the day with fencing. By the second event, swimming, I am in full-on competition mode and the adrenaline takes over what nerves are left anyway.”
While McCann said she never makes predictions, she said she’s prepared and will do her best.
She thanked the community for all their support.
“Not only have many of my friends and family made the trip to London to cheer me on, but I have received so much unwavering support on my Olympic journey,” she said. “The texts, messages, emails, letters and phone calls are still flooding in.
“It makes me so proud to represent this community and country on the world’s biggest stage. Wave your Canadian flags high!”