Olympic memories for Royal City pair

Two local health care professionals helped out with Canadian Olympic team

New Westminster was ably represented at the recently concluded 2012 Olympics in London, England.

Dr. Bob McCormack, who operates his clinic on Richmond Street, was working his sixth Olympics, this time as chief medical director for the Canadian Olympic team.

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But also working in London, mostly with the cycling team, was chiropractor Dr. Jenn Turner, who lives in the Royal City while running two high-performance clinics, Movéo Sport and Rehabilitation Centre in North Vancouver and Optimum Sport Performance and Health Centre in Chilliwack.

Turner was working her first Olympics and weeks after her return, she's still on Cloud 9 about her London experience.

"I started working with Canadian cyclists in 2008," said Turner. "I worked with Andrew Pinfold of Symmetrics Pro Cycling and he referred me to Svein Tuft and Zach Bell. ... As I started working with them, they liked my approach and I started doing a lot more work with the Canadian cycling team."

The cyclists loved Turner's work so much that for the past three years, as the team trains in Los Angeles, Turner has flown down to the City of Angels on an almost weekly basis to offer her chiropractic and sports medicine expertise.

As the head chiropractor for the squad, she has accompanied them to World Cup meets in Colombia, Australia and China and earlier this year, she went to London for the first time, for an Olympic warm-up event.

Just before the Olympics, Turner accompanied the cyclists to Apeldoorn, Holland for their final preparations and once the Olympics began, Turner was at the cyclists' beck and call.

And the biggest moment for the team came on Aug. 4 when Canada won bronze in the women's team pursuit with Tara Whitten of Edmonton, Gillian Carleton of Victoria and Jasmin Glaesser of Coquitlam defeating Australia in the third-place race.

"That was definitely the highlight," said Turner, who said there was also disappointment when Whitten and Bell were unable to win individual medals.

"That was definitely disappointing because I'm friends with Zach and I saw how hard he worked and then to see him come up short, that was pretty hard to watch."

It was during work that Turner caught up with McCormack, one of her Royal City neighbours.

"I really enjoyed learning from him," said Turner. "He works so incredibly hard. Every time I showed up to work, he was already there. And you don't often see a chiropractor and a surgeon working together, but as much as I learned from him, he wanted to learn more about what I was doing."

McCormack was quick to return the compliments.

"Jenn was a real asset to the team," he said. "She worked closely with a lot of different people and I saw her in the clinic every day, working hard as part of the Canadian health and science team. Sometimes, you get people who just go off and do their own thing, but Jenn was the exact opposite of that. She wanted to work with different people and learn as much as she could."

McCormack said it is quite amazing that two Royal City residents were working together in London, but then he remembered his first experience with Turner.

"I'd met her before when she was doing a residency program and had to pair up with an orthopedic surgeon," said McCormack. "She has spent some time with me, but it took me a little time to put two and two together."

McCormack loved his sixth Olympics, ranking it with Sydney 2000 as his favourite Summer Games.

"The Brits did a great job," said McCormack. "It was very similar to Sydney and both were fantastic."

McCormack's responsibilities as medical director centred around larger global issues, such as working with other countries' medical directors to share knowledge and ensure a continuity of learning and best practices.

McCormack still pitched in on the day-to-day work with individual athletes, but working more on the executive level, he had more time to tour venues and see some of the bigger picture that is the Olympic Games.

As for the Winter Games he considers the best, it's no contest for McCormack.

"What happened in Vancouver, I'm not even sure I can put into words," he said. "It was good in so many ways and something I'll always remember."

It wasn't all work and no play for Turner and McCormack in London.

Turner was able to stay in the Olympic Village and also brought along husband Kevin Lunnie, an athlete in his own regard, as he plays for the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

"I went to the gold medal women's soccer match and I got to watch some of the free events, like the men's marathon and the marathon swimming event," said Turner, who added that she couldn't watch friend Simon Whitfield in the men's triathlon because of work responsibilities at the velodrome.

McCormack did get to see Whitfield in action and had the added bonus of having daughter Jenny join him. Jenny, now in her third year of studies at UBC, took the summer off to backpack across Europe, stayed with her father in London and was able to take in some handball and field hockey games.

"She had fun and it was great to get together in London," said McCormack.

Now that they're both back in the Lower Mainland, Turner is busy working at both of her clinics and indulging her self-admitted love of training and getting faster at every thing she does.

"I've taken up ultramarathoning," said Turner. "I'm running 50K and more and I'm loving it."

As for McCormack, there's not much time until the next Olympics, the Winter Games in Sochi in February 2014, but it's another big sporting event he has his eye on.

"I'd love to go to the World Cup in Brazil," he said. "I've talked to it with a couple of friends and that would be a great trip."



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