Meet Olympic Bronze Medalist Joannie Rochette

By Vanessa Gillis

Although she hasn’t competed since the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette is no stranger to leading a fit and healthy lifestyle – but that doesn’t mean it comes easily.

The 29-year-old Québec native is currently touring with Stars On Ice, which she says requires her to stay fit so she can continue to perform, but her training is far different now than when she was preparing for the Olympics. “I don’t necessarily have a coach or trainer following me [anymore], so I feel like it’s a lot more challenging to stay fit and stay in shape,” she explains. “To be honest, I don’t love the gym. I need to keep it varied, otherwise I lose interest.” For that reason, she says she’s always looking for fun ways to stay active, such as her recent experience with sky diving.

To keep herself interested, she says she likes to try new activities, keep things fresh, and always have something to work towards. “I think goals are very important to keep you on track both short-term and long-term,” she explains, and recommends that others do the same. “Just have goals, find something that you like, and get other people involved.”

Joannie not only strives to keep herself healthy, but she wants to share her knowledge and tips with others. Recently, she partnered up with Almond Breeze to help spread her message of healthy eating and living to women across Canada, which is something she has been passionate about since she lost her 55-year-old mother in 2010. Just days before Joannie was to compete in the Winter Olympics, her mother suffered a sudden heart attack.

Since then, she has encouraged other women to be active and live well, not only for themselves, but for their family as well. “My mother lived through me and she just forgot herself at some point,” she shares. “Her priority was that I would eat well, play sports, and be happy. I feel like she kind of forgot herself in all that.” She mentions that her mother was a heavy smoker and, although she would ensure her daughter ate well, she didn’t eat very healthily herself.

That’s why, in 2010, Joannie teamed up with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and began speaking at events to share the emotional aspects of her story and raise awareness about heart health. “There was always a doctor there to speak about [heart health]  more scientifically, but I would just talk to women in general about my experience with my mom. I think it’s important for other women to hear that because a lot of them are just so busy with their work, their children, and their family – they need to stop and take a moment for themselves, otherwise they might not be there to enjoy the rest,” she reveals. “I just hope every time I share the story, one woman in the audience will recognize herself and say, ‘I need to make a change and take care of myself.’”

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