Episode #36: Michelle Sawatzky-Koop
45:49 | Mar 29, 2021
Michelle is 5’6”, from Steinbach, a small city in rural Manitoba, and has a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Manitoba School of Music. Knowing only this one may assume that this musical “short girl” who was “not from Winnipeg” would never advance further than a volleyball provincial team (if she could even make the provincial team). Well, when you assume you make an ass out of u and me. When one is around Michelle, it is best not to make any assumptions.
A 1996 Olympian in the sport of volleyball, Michelle now refers to being short as a blessing noting that, "When you have disadvantages in sport and life, you want it so much more, and you have to fight like a dog to get it. You have to go anywhere. I would have gone anywhere [to play club volleyball].” And go anywhere she did. It was a four-hour drive each way to practice for the first club volleyball team she made.
Of the path we all walk, she notes this, "All of our journeys are valuable. When I think about finding heroes in our midst, it doesn’t even seem like a daunting task. I’m incredibly blessed to have the Olympics attached to my name, but I have met many mothers, fathers, kids, and athletes who will never go to the Olympics, but they are heroes because [real life can be much more difficult]. I have been to the Olympics, and then I’ve lived real life and what I‘ve done since and in those realms seem far more heroic to me than anything I did on a wooden court. It taught me how I want to approach everything I want to do in my life and to not expect to get attention for all the hard work in between. You have to get your reward from what you pour into your journey, even if no one sees it."
Tenacious, caring, willing to do the work, and a role model to all. We are proud to have Michelle on the Heroes team. She is, without doubt, a hero in our midst. Please enjoy Michelle's episode.