Carrying the Torch

At about 250 metres long, the run wasn’t strenuous. But in those short, few minutes on July 26, Dr. Shannon Prud’homme made memories that will last a long time.

On that day at The Forks in Winnipeg, Dr. Prud’homme was one of many runners feeling a lot of pride for the city, and their country.

“It really was an honour to be a bearer of the torch, the symbol of the Canada Games. Being a part of this showed me the many parallels between striving for excellence in sport and striving for excellence in medicine,” says Dr. Prud’homme, President Elect Doctors Manitoba.

Dr. Prud’homme shared her duties with co-torch bearer Jason Pruden, a teen originally from Lake St. Martin First Nation who was representing Fit Kids, Healthy Kids. The duo started their run-walk at the Forks Historic site and made their way to the Children’s Museum before handing off the Roly McLenahan’s torch, which was named after a member of the original Canada Games Council.

Dr. Prud’homme has a lifelong connection to sport and active living.

She was a competitive bowler in her youth and played Ultimate Frisbee during her university years. Today she stays active by running and biking, rowing and kayaking, swimming, and playing golf and tennis. But she plays for fun, and not competitively, she points out. The athletes at the 2017 Canada Summer Games are the real stars, Dr. Prud’homme says.

“The physical conditioning and abilities demonstrated by the athletes in each and every sport was truly inspiring.”

Over the course of the 17-day games, Dr. Prud’homme watched athletes compete in sailing, diving, beach and indoor volleyball, basketball and baseball, swimming and tennis, and other events.

Diving was her favourite.

“The athletic precision and the unforgiving nature of the sport makes it very exciting to watch. Every minute detail becomes amplified when imperfect and when things go well, the dive coalesces seemingly effortlessly into a physical art form.”

More than 4,000 athletes and coaches competed at the games, which ran from July 28 to August 13 in Winnipeg and several other nearby communities. There were 16 sports and more than 250 additional games-related events and celebrations. About 6,000 volunteers kept the games running and the city welcomed about 20,000 visitors.

Representing Doctors Manitoba at the games was a privilege, says Dr. Prud’homme.

“An event like the Canada Games is a celebration of excellence within the community and for me it parallels the excellent care and service that the physicians of Manitoba provide within the province,” she says.

“Like the legacy of the Canada Games, Doctors Manitoba is working hard to provide a legacy of support, mentorship and, through negotiations with government, financial stability for our future generations of physicians who will continue in our footsteps to provide care for our patients, our families and yes, even us.”