What is the lab?

The Lab is where Canada’s most elite high-performers unite as one team, under the microscope of the Olympic Games. It’s a place to lead. To learn. To share. To bond. It is a marquee opportunity for collaboration with our country’s strongest athletes, coaches and Olympic-sport minds.


Exclusive Games Preparation

Every Games are unique; each with specific challenges and opportunities. The Lab exists to provide you with the necessary tools to perform on demand inside your particular and local Olympic environment.


Incredible Conversations

Attracting world-class speakers, sport legends and experts in the Olympic space, the Lab plays host to some of the most important conversations you can have in your Olympic career. It facilitates ongoing discussions which turn into results, both in life and on the field of play.


Hands-On Experience

Success means putting good ideas into practice. Together, among key leaders in our Olympic family, Lab participants get their hands dirty in understanding and solving potential challenges that come with each Games.


Leadership & Discovery

As one of Canada’s best in sport, your perspective and experience is key to the overall success of Team Canada. Olympic Lab is the place to both lead by example and share your insight, while discovering where you can improve.


For Olympic athletes and coaches, the answer is powerful. It’s your IKIGAI; a Japanese concept (生き甲斐, pronounced Ick-ee-guy) which illustrates your “why?” or your purpose. By living your purpose each day, you can connect deeply to your IKIGAI; amplifying that “state of flow” high-performers know so well.

Through precisely curated sessions at Olympic Lab 2018, you will learn how to carry this “flow” directly into your performance plan for Tokyo 2020 and let your IKIGAI help you reach your goals.




To live successfully through your IKIGAI, relationships must be cared for; with yourself, your body and with others. When we bring these relationships together to form Team Canada, we become a stronger, more united family. With this in mind, the Lab’s 2018 NURTURE program is structured to help build the multi-sport relationships and friendships which become the fabric of our team. Through these experiences, you will grow your network of support and make the influential connections necessary before touching touch down in Japan.


Are you truly aware of yourself, your teammates, your goals? During The Gravity Games, you will see how great teams find individual answers — together. During this wild (potentially hilarious and highly competitive) 90-minute exercise, you will have the opportunity to NURTURE your awareness, accountability, communication, and collective vision in a team setting.


We’re on this journey together, so we better get to know how the pieces fit together. In Breaking the Ice, we will jump right into the Tokyo 2020 ‘puzzle’ and learn what success looks like, by learning about each other. This big-picture challenge will help us to NURTURE our important relationships now, so we can rely on each other when it matters most … as One Team in Tokyo.




By revealing the specifics of your Olympic road ahead, these sessions will show you how to EMBRACE your Olympic journey — using your IKIGAI as a guide. The journey to Japan will have bumps in the road and your experience at Games will be far from perfect. So, during the 2018 edition of the Lab, you will discover ways to embrace and best manage the Tokyo environment, the Games-specific environment, and any potential obstacles along the way.


How will your Olympic plan adapt to Tokyo life? Now is the time to find out. Come, step inside the Tokyo 2020 environment and understand what your Games will look, feel and taste like during this experiential session. This is where you can test out your living arrangements and accreditation IQ. You will have the chance for further explore various transportation systems, and start getting ready for weather realities. Bring your questions, concerns and adventurous attitude so you can EMBRACE The Tokyo Experience with more confidence.


With mindfulness comes Olympic potential, and these sessions are dedicated to both. The Mind Matters program is designed to help you understand and experience first-hand the relevance of mindfulness and translate it into performance through specific exercises. Keynote speaker and mindfulness expert Pete Kirchmer will show you how to EMBRACE this ‘way of being’ and apply it to your life, as you live your purpose en route to Tokyo.


Not your usual panel discussion: An Imperfect Journey will not only reveal the extraordinary and unpredictable path toward the Olympic podium, it will make you a part it. By sharing life-changing lessons from the Pyeongchang Games, lugers Sam Edney and Alex Gough will help you get to the bottom of questions only Olympic-bound team members can relate to. They will offer first-hand knowledge of how to EMBRACE imperfection and resilience on the path toward Olympic excellence.


No matter what you take from Olympic Lab, it’s what you do with it that matters — and more importantly, why. In his closing address, Canadian Olympic icon Daniel Igali will reveal how he used his own ‘why’ to become a true legend for his sport, his team and his country. His journey defines resiliency and embodies what it means to put Purpose in Motion with a clear and passionate drive. This exclusive conversation will help you EMBRACE whatever you will face along your own Olympic journey.




REFINE sessions are designed to help you sharpen your skills as a key teammate and leader within your sport, en route to Tokyo. Using insight from how others live their IKIGAI, and tapping into that of your own, you will see how creative problem solving can help you contribute to a more high-functioning team.


Olympic Lab 2018 will officially kick-off in conversation with some highly impactful figures in sport. Considered among the greatest Winter Olympians of all time, Johann Koss will lead this session about expressing our full potential in life; how living with purpose every day can bring success. Following Johann is Diana Nyad, an inspiring swimmer who used her individual purpose as fuel to achieve a lifelong dream to unite two countries at odds. In A Reason for Being, you will see different examples of IKIGAI in its natural state. At this key moment in your Olympic journey, these powerful discussions will empower you to REFINE how you live your own life’s purpose and express your potential as a high-performer, and as a human being.


On Day 2 of Olympic Lab, hockey legends Caroline Ouellette and Marie-Philip Poulin will be joined by Peter Jensen, their team’s Mental Performance Consultant, to share their experience working on identifying their purpose. You will then have the chance to put your purpose to the test and learn when it can be most practical. Mental Performance Consultant Dr. Karen MacNeill will lead this practical workshop to help you explore and create clarity around your individual purpose. What does success look like for you beyond result outcomes? Is there a bigger purpose in what you do and how you do it? What are some of the motivations behind your desire to be successful? Ikigai at Work is your chance to REFINE how you can make this happen en route to Tokyo 2020, and turn your ‘why’ into a high-impact performance tool for yourself and your broader team.



Nyad_CAASpeakers_Photo 2 (Credit Julie Milligan)

Diana Nyad

A Reason for Being

Extraordinary is an understatement when comes to Diana Nyad. At the age of 64, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida (without a shark cage!), covering nearly 180 kms in 53 hours. It is a feat that highlights an open-water swimming career filled with record-breaking achievements, painful failures and seemingly unimaginable journeys. “I have three messages,” she says. “One: Never ever give up. Two: You are never too old to chase your dreams. And three: It looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.”

A multi-talented athlete, journalist and author, Nyad’s ability to commit to a goal and overcome obstacles to reach it helped her become a member of the U.S. National Women’s and International Swimming Halls of Fame.

Her engaging story is a powerful tool for anyone with the will to accomplish the extraordinary.


Johann Koss

A Reason for Being

Johann Koss knows how to make success happen. At his first Olympic Games in 1992, while still recovering from surgery, he skated to gold in the 1,500m long track speed-skating event and silver in the 10,000m. At the ’94 Games, he earned three gold medals in his native Norway in world-record fashion. He established 10 world records over his athletic career and is considered one of the greatest winter Olympians of all time.

In his post-competition career, Koss founded Right To Play, which now reaches almost two million children each week, world-wide and is the largest First Nations youth program in Canada. Johann was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athlete Commission in 1998 (until 2002), and participated in the reform committee of the IOC and Executive Board of WADA as its first athlete representative. In 2015, he was made an honorary Member of the Order of Canada. In 2016, he co-founded FairSport an organization created to protect clean sport and whistleblowers within sport. He is an outspoken advocate for fair and accessible sport and is regarded among the world’s most influential people in that space.

Daniel Igali, 1974. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Daniel Igali

Purpose in Motion

Daniel Igali is a two-time Olympian and gold medallist in freestyle wrestling from the 2000 Sydney Games. That winning performance is Canada’s first and only Olympic gold medal in men’s wrestling…so far. Growing up in one of the poorest villages in Nigeria, he was one of 21 children in his family. Igali came to Canada to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C. and stayed here as a refugee. In 1999, as an official citizen, he became the first Canadian male freestyle wrestler to win a world championship. And one year later, he stood atop the Olympic podium representing the Maple Leaf with a specific and heartfelt pride which still resonates across our country today.

Igali was awarded the Lou Marsh award as Canadian athlete of the year in 2000 and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the president of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, an international ambassador for his sport, and a legendary member of Team Canada.


Marie-Philip Poulin

Ikigai at Work

Marie-Philip Poulin thrives when the Olympic pressure is on. At Sochi 2014, she delivered in dramatic fashion to give Canada its fourth straight Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey. Four years earlier, as the team’s youngest member, she lifted her teammates to the same podium result at Vancouver 2010. And at PyeongChang 2018, she earned three goals and three assists en route to an emotional silver medal.

Poulin has been with the national team program since 2007, and since has established herself as a consummate international leader. Her work ethic, proud attitude and unforgettable performances have elevated what’s possible in her sport and continues to shape hockey culture around the world.


Caroline Ouellette

Ikigai at Work

Caroline Ouellette’s role on Team Canada will always be eminent. With gold medals to show for each of her four Olympic appearances (2002 through 2014), her career longevity and leadership in women’s ice hockey are examples of real influence. Wearing the Maple Leaf as a national team member since 1999, Oullette has helped to change the way Canadians regard hockey today — and has the resume to prove it.

In her post-athlete life as a mom and coach, Ouellete continues to lead by example and is committed to creating more opportunities for women and girls in sport.


Alex Gough

Wabi Sabi: An Imperfect Journey

Alex Gough became a double Olympic medallist at PyeongChang 2018, earning bronze in the women’s singles luge and silver in the team relay. The history making performances came four years after difficult fourth-place finishes at Sochi 2014 in the same events. In 2011, Gough became the first Canadian luger to ever win gold in a World Cup race. That same year she earned Canada’s first world championship women’s luge medal, a bronze.

After two seasons of reduced racing, while working on her civil engineering degree, Gough returned to full time competition in 2016-17. A remarkable leader and teammate, the four-time Olympian is known for her consistency on the world stage and resiliency over her career.


Sam Edney

Wabi Sabi: An Imperfect Journey

Luge veteran Sam Edney helped lift Canada to an emotional silver-medal performance at PyeongChang 2018 in the team relay event. The result came four years after what was a heartbreaking fourth-place finish at Sochi 2014 in the same event.

During the 2015-16 season Edney stepped away from competition to study, rest and recover. Upon his return to the track he became the first Canadian man to win a World Cup luge race, doing so in his home Calgary. The four-time Olympian has been competing on the World Cup circuit for more than a decade. He is revered for his quick reaction time, which is among the best in the world. Edney’s extensive experience, leadership and attitude is invaluable to the success of Team Canada and its overall culture.


Peter Kirchmer

Mind Matters

A dynamic public speaker and founder of Mindfulness Based Health Coaching, Peter Kirchmer specializes in helping people apply the practice of mindfulness to improving performance in life, work and sport. As a leading expert in his field, his clients include professional and Olympic athletes, executives, entrepreneurs and first responders.

Peter is the program Director for the UCSD Center For Mindfulness mPEAK (Mindful, Performance Enhancement, Awareness & Knowledge) program and is the developer and lead trainer for the Chopra Center Life Coaching program.