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Fondest career memory?
Establishing the Athlete Welfare programme at the Olympic Games. I worked on this for many years—to see it implemented in Rio in 2016 was a real career highlight for me. I hope this will protect athletes in the future, and prevent harassment and abuse in all sports!
Average weekday morning?
…. Don’t ask!! ☺
Most memorable sporting moment you’ve witnessed?
Definitely the 2008 Olympic Games when I watched the inaugural 10k marathon swim in Beijing. I witnessed a disabled swimmer—Nathalie du Toit from South Africa—compete in the able-bodied event. Her courage and strength were inspiring.
Most valuable contribution to the field?
While I could say some of the studies I have conducted, papers I have authored or the Olympic Games I have worked at, my most valuable contribution to the field is (hopefully) the help and care I give on a daily basis in my clinic to athletes of all shapes, sizes and abilities over the past 30 years.
Who is your hero?
The numerous athletes over the years that overcome adversity to strive for improvement and to reach personal goals—athletes who have overcome profound physical injury and emotional abuse issues. Their courage and fortitude make them all heroes in my eyes.
One skill that’s served you well?
Perseverance, resilience and creativity. Wait—that is three skills; I guess another skill is not following exact directions!
What have proven to be good 'career moves' (by accident or by design)?
Saying ‘yes’ when opportunities came my way. Although, in reality, I had to make some of my opportunities happen—they don’t always come knocking at your door! Famous Canadian author—Stephen Leacock—once said ‘People say I am very lucky—I find that the harder I work, the luckier I get!’
Best career advice for upcoming sports medicine professionals?
Don’t be afraid to walk through open doors! Nothing ventured—nothing gained. Wayne Gretzky said ‘you miss 100% of the shots that you never take!’ It doesn’t always work out but you might find yourself walking through a door that changes your career path—and your life!
What keeps you going?
The joy that I get from playing a part in making something better! Improving the field of sports medicine—from working one on one with a recreational athlete or an Olympian to making policy changes on athlete safety or publishing science that changes how we look and act.
What is your favourite way to stay physically active?
Run, bike, roller blade, weights, dance class, swimming, surfing, skiing, (alpine and Nordic)… Should I continue? As sports medicine physicians who are responsible for promoting physical activity for health, we should walk the walk—not just talk the talk. Not to mention—it is a ton of fun!
Best career advice you have ever received?
‘If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem'. This advice was given by Dr Andrew Pipe and has resonated with me. I have heard his voice over and over again when in politically challenging situations—it has given me the direction, strength and courage to fight some of the political battles that inevitably happen in some circles of sports medicine!
Have you ever felt like you ‘made it’?
I was thrilled in 2004 when I became a member of the IOC Medical Commission. This enabled me to work with amazing colleagues from around the world and learn new skills—both in sports medicine and in politics. This gave me the opportunity to effect positive change for athlete health.
Biggest culture shock moment?
….working as the only woman on the Executive Board of an International Federation in a Middle Eastern country and being unable to activate the medical system to help someone in need because I was a woman. Thankfully, this has changed and improved somewhat over time. Sadly, women do not yet enjoy gender equity in sports medicine leadership in many parts of the world.
Average amount of sleep on a Tuesday night?
Don’t ask:) Definitely more since my PhD defence!
How do you relax?
Read, run, ski, swim and hang out with my family… Oh, and knit, make music, hike with friends, hot tub with my husband… Can never get enough!
… I play the harp. Not enough, and not well. But it is my secret refuge!
If someone were to write a hashtag about you, what would it be?
Sadly, it would likely be: #SheNeedsAClone!
From the press box:
Dr Michael BergeronjrnlBoxPara
Dr Saul Marks
Dr Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen
What are Margo’s greatest contributions to the field?
Her greatest contribution in my opinion is her brave and pioneering work on harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport, which shows her passion for athlete safety, health and well-being, no matter what.
In addition to her clinical contributions, Margo’s research, demonstrated by her successful PhD defence last year, has benefited the Sports Medicine specialty. She is extremely well published and has presented her work regionally, nationally and internationally—culminating in her work with the IOC and FINA.
Margo's contributions (research and clinical) to female elite athletes is extremely valuable. She has led the way in increasing the possibility for female athletes to perform at their highest level and remain healthy. Of special importance are the many IOC consensus statements that she has chaired. Two notable examples are (1) the IOC working group that came up with a new framework for a problem that is now termed ‘Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport’1 and (2) her contribution to the IOC consensus statement concerning ‘Sexual Harassment & Abuse in Sport’.2
What attributes or skills does Margo bring to a team?
Margo is strong, inspiring, reliable and passionate. She is a good team leader who delegates tasks with feedback and has excellent team building skills. She is exceptional at keeping a group cohesive whether it be regionally or internationally via email or conference calls.
Margo has a tireless ability to see the big picture—how science and medicine practically impact the athlete and coach—while maintaining great discipline in being precise, concise, well organised and extraordinarily timely!
What is something about Margo that only her friends know?
Margo loves great food…but she always finds time for exercise…no matter what!
Margo has an amazing career, and a cohesive and loving family life—never losing sight that her family comes first. Having said that, amazingly she always remains available and collegial to the international/national or regional working groups she is a part of.
Margo is one you can share challenges with (personal or work related), and always receive good advice. When she's not working or spending quality time with her family, she has two major passions: to practice figure skating and to play the harp.
If you had only one tweet (140 characters) to explain Margo Mountjoy, what would it be?
@margomountjoy—reminding us all to get it done… have FUN…and do it with class! #AthleteAdvocate in every way.
I don’t tweet.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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