Olympic champion helps others reach goals
Lori-ann Muenzer, Canada’s only Olympic cycling gold medallist, is still helping cyclists train, but she is also teaching people to look for their dream job.
People have reported feelings of depression, grief, fear, panic and anxiety during the lockdown, but it might be surprising to have an Olympian ride to the rescue.
“I have never made a secret of having had my own mental health issues,” says Lori-ann Muenzer, 54, who won her medal at the 2004 Athens games.
“An Olympic gold medal didn’t get rid of my depression or anxiety, nor did it make it easier to deal with my own internal demons, fears or monsters.”
Some 24 per cent of Canadians in a Statistics Canada crowdsourcing survey recently reported fair or poor mental health, while a 2018 survey had found only eight per cent of Canadians reported fair or poor mental health.
Muenzer now coaches clients to train and concentrate their minds like an Olympian, beginning with having them focus on what they really want in life and not just on getting by.
“We seek to identify an idea that makes people want to jump out of bed excited in the morning,” she says.
Muenzer found “freedom, bliss, and happiness” in cycling and began racing at age 22. She quickly became an elite cyclist, even though her career nearly ended when she plunged off a six-metre cliff while mountain biking.
Her goal was to cycle for Canada within two or three years and win an Olympic gold medal. Instead it took 18 years. “I reckoned if I rode exceptionally hard during training sessions, I’d be totally exhausted and wouldn’t have to face my demons,” she said. But self-doubts would always creep in.
“I had feelings of isolation from travelling alone and they triggered anxiety in me,” she said. “That led to feelings of anger, resentment, irritability, restlessness and even paralysis.
Muenzer sought advice, and was diagnosed with Cyclo-thymic disorder, a mood disorder that causes ups and downs.
She is now a sought-after motivational speaker.
“The way to start is to set a goal that really excites and scares you at the same time,” said Muenzer. “Just like a computer, one’s mind needs to be updated.”
Muenzer is hosting a free, interactive online session on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. Details are available by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.