Summer reading for Olympians #Rio2016

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The 2016 Olympics begin tomorrow. This is a blog for book lovers and readers, so you might be asking: what do Olympians read when they’re not training or competing?

OK, so maybe you’ve never asked that. But I had the opportunity when I interviewed Canadian Olympian Michael Tayler, who is competing in the whitewater kayak slalom event. The story and amazing photo by Ellen Bond were featured on on the cover of the summer reading issue of my community paper.

We did the interview when Michael was home for a short break from training in Rio.

We talked about Rio (he describes it as being one of the most “geographically beautiful” places he’s ever seen), qualifying for the Canadian Olympic team (his second time), his rigorous training schedule (“train, hotel, eat, repeat”), how he got started (he was just 8 years old), and of course…his summer reading (on hold until after the Olympics). For Micheal, a recent history grad, it’s History’s People by Margaret MacMillan. And the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig–a book recommend by his mom. You can read the full story here .

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Michael Tayler pre-Olympic media event, Ottawa, July 2016

During his break from training, he also found time to inspire the kids in our community: he met with students at a local school, camp kids at our community centre (where they slimed him!) and young paddlers. He even agreed to bring a copy of the book to our photo shoot. I wonder when he had time to sleep?

Through it all, he was a good sport–a reminder of the true Olympic spirit.

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Kids watching Michael Tayler training in the whitewater course below, Ottawa, July 2016

The Olympics begin on August 5, and Michael will be competing in the first week.

Go Michael Go!


Check out more reading suggestions from some very interesting people in my neighbourhood (a publisher, restaurant owner, writer, librarian, musician, and more) in the summer reading issue of Kitchissippi Times.

(Cover photo by Ellen Bond, all other photos by lostandfoundbooks)

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