Tag: olympics

Healthy Swellness: Q&A with Olympian Michelle Wingshan Kwan about P&G’s “Love Over Bias”

Watch this “Love Over Bias” film and tell me you don’t get a lump in your throat.

 It was just released yesterday by Procter & Gamble, and is the latest installment of their “Thank You, Mom” campaign. Focusing on what the world could be if we saw one another through a mother’s eyes, the film comes now with less than 100 days to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony.

 The theme this year of the campaign is about the prejudices and challenges athletes face as seen through their mom’s perspective, and is meant to encourage looking at what brings us together as people rather than what divides us. It pays tribute to the important role a mom plays as her child’s biggest support system and celebrates how a mom can see and believe in her child’s potential.


Two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Wingshan Kwan is one of the athletes whose story helped inspire the campaign, and right before my phone call this week with Michelle to discuss “Love Over Bias” and the “Thank You, Mom” campaign, I watched the film and we immediately started talking about it.

 What was it like when you first saw “Love Over Bias”?

Michelle Kwan: “I was crying, I had the same reaction [as you], had a lump in throat. It really hit home for me, seeing this incredible ad and this incredible campaign, “Love Over Bias.” shared Michelle, “Being able to partner with pg and being able to share my story, and for the athletes to share their story of obstacles and challenges depicted in that film…”

“My mom was there through thick and thin for my skating career and I saw how much sacrifice and how much my mom gave up to make my dreams come true, I’m talking financial means, too, Juggling multiple jobs, putting a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and then to dream of Olympic ice skater? There’s no task too large for my mom. Mama Kwan was like, ‘If you want to be an Olympic ice skater, let’s do it.” That’s what my mom instilled in me, if you want something, you go after it, so this campaign is that chance to thank all moms out there for believing in our dreams and being our number one fan.”

What were some of the challenges you faced?

“Looking back to the early years, not being able to afford fancy costumes, and my mom sewing my costumes, making them because we couldn’t afford them. I felt extra special, actually, not that I couldn’t buy this amazing custom costume but because my mom made it. I was very fortunate to have a costume at all.  Even making it to national level with a used pair of skates because that was the only thing my parents could afford; competing in a borrowed dress. I could go on and on about the financial shortcomings of my family’s situation but my mom, both parents, were like, “If this is what you want, we’re going to be a little scrappy along the way but just keep dreaming, keep doing it, keep working hard.”

As a teen, you understood all of that, rather than feeling like, “why do I have to use secondhand skates?”

“I understood it, I saw the lack of sleep, my parents driving to and from ice rink at 5 in the morning, us skating for three hours, for them to be watching us for three hours and then us going to school and picking us up, and meanwhile they’re juggling finances. I remember my grandparents asking my parents, like almost criticizing them, “Why are you wasting time and money on figure skating, it’s silly,’ and, you know, my parents never wavered, they let me have the opportunity to participate. I remember many times I thought it would the end of any skating dreams, and it would’ve been devastating–that’s the thing that I look back on and my mom was always “Ny baby girl wants to do this. I’m going to do everything in my power to make it happen.’”

Can  you share any particular struggles that come to mind from when you were competing and how your mom was your biggest support?

“Different times of wanting to give up, and having won a world title and saying how am I going to win again, moments that you think you can’t improve. That was when my mother was always there. Even when I fell three or four times at a national championship, she said, “I’m so proud of you,” and I was like “What?!” “Yeah, you couldn’t have tried harder, you couldn’t have done anything different.’ That is something that is so special, when you have the mom touch, telling you to hold you head up high, that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

How would you say this has contributed to making you into the person you are now?

“There are so many life lessons you learn through sports. Over 90 percent of women i CEO positions, over 90 percent have participated in sport so these it’s transferable–to be a good athlete, working with a team, having that grit, focus and determination, those are things that you need to excel at sport but also a way to succeed outside of sport,”

In case you’re wondering, when I spoke to Michelle on Tuesday, her mom had not yet seen “Love Over Bias.” “I can’t wait to watch it with her. She’s going to love it,” said Michelle.

Kudos to P&G for helping to shed light on the biases and struggles that many of us face and how that can hold us back from reaching our potential. Bringing these issues to light and inspiring discussion can only help to move the world to a better place. Want to learn more about the campaign and the athletes involved (including Gus Kenworthy, Aja Evans, Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones, all pictured below with Michelle)? Visit www.loveoverbias.com.

I know for me, after watching the film and chatting with Michelle, my mom coming to my childhood dance recitals and gymnastics classes  came rushing back to me, and, like Michelle’s mom, my mom sewed me outfits, not skating costumes, but the most stylish coordinated outfits (there were a lot of fun pink prints—my mom always let me choose the fabric)…

…and there’s that lump in my throat again…

So, who else is calling their mom right now after watching “Love Over Bias”?





Leave a Comment November 2, 2017

Fitness Swellness: Skiing with Kelsey Serwa


I’m off to Whistler for the weekend with ZICO Coconut Water,  oh, just to ski with Olympian Kelsey Serwa — you know, the one who just won silver for women’s ski cross in Sochi.

Ya know, as one does on any regular ol’ weekend…what!?

And by “ski with Kelsey Serwa” I mean meet Kelsey, and then get shuttled off to get a beginner’s lesson (I’ve only had skis on three times in my life). I’ll be meeting with her to chat fitness and health, too — any questions you’d love to ask her? Let me know!

I’m stoked about this incredible opportunity to get to know Kelsey, and it’ll be my very first visit to Whistler — I hear it’s gorgeous. Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) and Twitter (@healthswellness) — and the hashtag for the trip is #skiwithserwa — to keep up with my adventures on the west coast!


3 Comments February 28, 2014

Giveaway Swellness: glacéau vitaminwater glory


*This giveaway is now closed.*

Congrats to Kristina — you’ll receive a taste of Glory and the custom gloves from vitaminwater!

With the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in full swing and the athletes all vying for a taste of glory by earning a medal for their country, have you thought about how you get a taste of glory in your life?

For me, there’s a bit of an obvious one—crossing the finish line in a race. It’s even better if it’s a new personal-best time, but even if it’s not, simply completing a race is an incredible feeling of accomplishment. But I think there’s room to find a taste of glory in one’s every day—it could even be something as small and seemingly mundane as a great walk outdoors with your puppy or mailing a sweet note to a friend you haven’t touched base with for awhile.

And, well, then there’s also the tasty new limited-edition peach-mango glacéau vitaminwater glory, created just for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. (And let me tell you, drinking this vitamin B and C-loaded glory sure is easier than training and running a marathon, that’s for sure). The flavour was inspired by input from Canadians who used the glacéau vitaminwater Facebook app when creating their own flavour of vitaminwater—seems a lot of us are fans of peach-mango.

Even better than its inspiration coming from Canadians across the country: glacéau vitaminwater has partnered with Canadian Olympic bobsledder Jesse Lumsden for the 2014 Winter Games. His athletic skill and outgoing personality just make sense with vitaminwater, right?

So who’s up for a taste of glory in their life? Here’s how you can win some:

You can enter in three ways: Here on this blog post, on the Instagram photo (you can find me on Instagram @healthandswellness — follow me and then add a comment to the pic), and/or “like” the Health and Swellness Facebook page and then comment — in your comment, tell me about a glorious moment in your life.

I’ll randomly select a winner who will receive not only a taste of glory but also a pair of custom Olympic Winter Games touchscreen gloves, courtesy of glacéau vitaminwater. The giveaway is open to Canadian residents and closes February 23, 2014 at 12 p.m. EST.

Check out vitaminwatercanada.ca and pick up a bottle of glory today to get your Canadian taste of glory. Share the glory online with @vitaminwater_ca, #tasteofglory.

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6 Comments February 18, 2014

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