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article imageChatting with Mark Tewksbury: Olympic gold medalist swimmer Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 11, 2019 in Sports
Mark Tewksbury is an icon in the Canadian swimming world. He chatted with Digital Journal about his latest endeavors (his one-man show "Belong"), Olympic career and the impact of technology on the sport.
At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Tewksbury won the gold medal in the men's 100 meter backstroke, as well as the bronze in the men's 4×100 meter medley relay race. Four years prior, he won the silver medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul in the 4×100 meter medley relay race with the Canadian swimming team. "That felt great. The medals were all different and they all have their own story," he said. "There are lots of stories and lots of adventures behind those medals."
He shared that his one-man show, "Belong," went great. "It was just for two nights but it had such an incredible response, so there will be more plans for it for the future," he said.
"I think my story 'Belong,' will turn into something else in this digital age," Tewksbury said. "It is something that runs the gamut and it can easily go on a streaming service or a graphic novel."
Back in his athletic career, he was motivated by a "sense of accomplishment." "That was really important to me. I like to feel like I did something in my day, and swimming was just a great way to do that. I liked pushing the bar," he said.
For young and aspiring swimmers, he said, "First of all, make sure you have fun because it's a sport that you start young so it's easy to get burnt out. Make sure you have a lot of fun. Try all of the different strokes. You will probably specialize in one, but it's good to learn them all. Work hard."
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on aquatics, he noted that the technological advances these days are great. "It's incredible all the different technologies that have," he said. "It's amazing."
"Back in the day, when I swam, somebody would literally throw their fingers on your throat and take your pulse in between the sets," he said, with a sweet laugh. Also, they didn't have the advances in video that they have today thanks to digital technology, and they would rely on early VHS footage. "Now, they can do everything in real time. It's unbelievable," he said.
A little over two decades ago, Tewksbury came out as gay, where he became the first Canadian Olympian to come out publicly. "I am pretty proud to be the first openly gay Olympian in Canada, and one of the very first in the whole world," he said. "I am grateful that the sport of swimming gave me a platform to make some social change."
He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) in the civil division for being an exemplary athlete and he was awarded several honorary degrees. "That was lovely to receive those honors," he admitted.
For his fans and supporters, he extended his gratitude. "Thank you. I will keep going," he said.
He defined the word success as "peace of mind." "I feel very successful right now and that is mostly due to peace of mind," he explained.
To learn more about Olympian Mark Tewksbury, follow him on Twitter.
More about Mark Tewksbury, Swimmer, Olympic, medalist, Canadian
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