Melanie McCann

" Modern Pentathlon is a very unique sport due to the fact that it is made up of five completely different sports. It is said to define the most all around sportsman. "

Personal Background

Sport-Related Background

  • National team
    member since:2007
  • Head coach:John Hawes
  • Swim coach: John Hawes
  • Run coach:John Hawes
  • Riding coach:Jeff McKessock
  • Fencing coach: Paul ApSimon
  • UIPM Profile: click here

Interview Questions

What is the moment or success you are most proud of in your sporting career thus far?

Qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games by placing 4th at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

How often do you train (per week or month)?

Fence: 3x week, Swim: 6x week, Ride: 2x week, Run: 5x week, Shoot: 4x week

Of the five sports of pentathlon (fencing, swimming, equestrian, shooting and running), which do you consider your best?

The fencing event will usually set the tone for my competition. It is this event that will put me at the top of the list so I can be competitive.

Why do you love the sport of pentathlon?

I love the variety and the challenge of the sport.

What is the toughest aspect of Pentathlon that many people may not recognize?

Modern Pentathlon is a very unique sport due to the fact that it is made up of five completely different sports. It is said to define the most all around sportsman. The toughest aspect of the Modern Pentathlon is balance. The right amount of training must be done in all five events to be able to produce the results you want. There must be time dedicated to the physical events such as running and swimming, but the technical events – shooting, fencing and riding – must be practiced regularly to perfect strategy and skill. In Pentathlon, you need not be great at one sport, but good at five.

When did you got involved in pentathlon and why?

I started Pentathlon without even knowing it. I was a competitive swimmer and ran on my schools’ cross country and track team when I was recruited. A coach from Goderich, ON asked my principal for my contact information and invited me to try the sport on the weekend. With swimming and running already under my belt, learning to fence, shoot and ride were the next steps. My first fencing lesson was in his driveway and my first shooting lesson was in an elementary school gym late on a Saturday night. I participated in my first national level Pentathlon in 2004 in Guelph, ON, and took home the gold medal. I was hooked from that summer and my training snowballed while I was busy dreaming up goals.

Do you participate in other sports?

Not at the moment, but I do like to skiing, biking and beach volleyball.

Do you have any pre-competition superstitions (i.e. one athlete always sits in the same seat on the bus on the way to competition, or one always listens to same song)?

I usually like to eat a couple of sweets the night before as I’m hanging out in my room with some music on while packing my bag for the five events I must perform the next day. Usually a lengthy task!

Advice you would give to someone who might be interested in or has just started competing in pentathlon?

Stick with it and the routine will come. You’ll learn to love even your least favourite event. The best part is finding out what you can really do when you thought that it was impossible.

How has being an athlete benefited you (positive effects in your life that you would not have had otherwise)?

I have met so many incredible people and been all around the world. It has allowed me to find strength and confidence in myself that I can carry outside of sport.

In the moments when I doubt that I want to continue, how do I motivate myself?

I think of all the hard work and what my goal is. I believe in my goal more than anything.

I think of all the hard work and what my goal is. I believe in my goal more than anything.

This is always a difficult question for me to answer because I can’t pin point just one person. I mostly find inspiration in the athletes around me. I feed off the other athletes in my clubs, swimming beside me or running ahead of me. I am there training though the highs and lows with them and when they reach their new personal bests or qualify for meets at their next level, I am motivated to do the same. I am there to see to work being done and watch it pay off.

Are there any other athletes in your family?

I’m the second oldest with three siblings. Blair (24) is an assistant project superintendent in the construction industry. He likes to snowboard and used to be a sprintcar racer. Lisa (21) studies at Brock University and is on the varsity swim team. Her favourite events are the 200 IM and 400 FR. My youngest sister Josie (19) is graduating high school and heading to the University of Western Ontario to study Economics and play on the varsity tennis team.

Aside from being huge supporters in all the sports and activities that my siblings and I take part in, my parents live in Mount Carmel, Ontario and are part of a family business. My Dad is a recreational hockey player and an avid bike rider, while my Mom enjoys tennis, volleyball and biking.

What is your favourite Olympic moment or motivation?

I have always been intrigued by the Olympic Games. Beginning in competitive sports at a young age, I was always told that one day I could go to the Olympics too. I thought of aiming for the Olympic Games in swimming or track, but didn’t really fit the profile until I found my knack in Modern Pentathlon.

My favourite memory of watching the Olympic Games would have to be from the sidelines in Vancouver in 2010. A few friends and I loaded up for a road trip from Calgary and cheered on the Canadian athletes at hockey games, curling rinks, speed skating tracks and medal ceremonies. The experience was topped off with a few rock concerts and by visiting and volunteering at athlete safe houses like CanFund House. The whole city was in good spirits and the magic of the Olympic Games was really an incredible sense of motivation for me as I aspire towards my own dream.

Education (are you in high school, trade school, university or have you finished)?

Civil Engineering Technologies, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Calgary, AB)

What are your hobbies?

I travel a lot for competitions so I like to make sure I get to see a bit of the different countries I go to. In the off-season, I like to go home to visit family and friends, hang out at the Grand Bend beach and watch movies.

Who is your biggest fan?

Of course, my parents are also my difference makers. I can always count on unlimited support from them through the ups and downs of training, competition and life. They are always there to offer advice and travel to events with me.

My coach John Hawes has helped me in ways I probably don’t even realize yet. From the pool deck every morning to push me through sets I think are impossible, to standing behind me on the shooting range pointing out where my shots are hitting (or missing), or telling me to smile and take a moment in the ride warm up, he’s been a driving force in my journey.

What is your favourite quote?

If you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?

Favourite book?

The places you’ll go – Dr. Suess

Favourite song & or band?

Allstar – Smashmouth

Favourite movie?

Princess Diaries

Favourite meal?

Mom’s roast and mashed potatoes

If I were an animal, I would be a ___________ because…

Flamingo…because they have always been my favourite!

Funded in part by:

  • Government of Canada
  • Canadian Olympic Committee
  • CI Investments
  • Dynamic Funds
  • Fidelity
  • National Bank Investments
  • Government of Ontario

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