By Andrew Millichamp
For Olympic rowing silver medalist, Doug Csima, his team’s win is not as important as what came before and what’s happened since.
Csima is the first athlete profiled in the Humber News series on Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls in their quests to get to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014 and the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
Csima told Humber News that after the medal ceremony in London this summer he had a sense of peace that the medal justified four years of sacrifice.
“I felt relief,” Csima said. “It’s hard to describe the feeling.”
Now he’s back in Victoria, B.C., after marrying his girlfriend, Megan Keilty, right after returning from London. He is also a two-time World Champion, having won a silver medal in 2009 and a bronze in 2011.
Csima’s Olympic medal came in the men’s eight’s rowing event, finishing just a second behind a German squad that hasn’t been defeated since 2009.
While Csima is still reflecting on his time as an Olympian he felt the training was the real life changing experience.
“It’s more the training to be honest, the experience of training for four years,” said Csima. “The Olympics itself is just a show, it’s just an accumulation of four years of hard training.”
Csima felt the lead up to the Olympics changed him.
“That’s what really shapes you as a person, the training, the stuff most people don’t see,” he said. “The Olympics was just a good opportunity to show all your supporters what you’ve been training for and what you’ve been doing for the last four years and why you’ve been neglecting everyone.”
His team’s time at the Olympics was almost a disaster. Canada drew unbeaten Germany, the Netherlands and home squad Great Britain in their heat and finished dead last, dropping them to the repechage.
“A few of us were looking at each other wondering if that was it,” said Csima. “A few of the more experienced guys were trying to rally us. I wasn’t very hopeful.”
The squad finished second in the repechage, advancing to the finals. In the finals, the Germans jumped out to an early lead, with the British right with them. At the three quarter mark, Canada was over a second back, but Csima wasn’t worried.
“I could feel that the British didn’t have anything in the tank,” said Csima. “For them to go out that hard and that fast – we knew they weren’t that fast – they were going to have to pay for it.”
Canada surged ahead, opening a lead over the British, but were unable to catch the Germans.
Csima says he enjoys his time back home and he isn’t sure if he’ll return to the team for 2016 in Rio.
“I don’t want to commit to doing another four years unless I’m going to be fully committed,” he said.
Csima, originally from Oakville, Ont., moved to Victoria, B.C. to attend the University of Victoria to get his master’s degree in health information sciences from the University of Victoria.
He is now a registered nurse at Beacon Hill Villa nursing home in Victoria.
“I think my mom convinced me to go into nursing because there was a job on the other end,” said Csima. “That was a big selling point for me.”
Csima started rowing when he went to McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ont., for his nursing degree. He was pulled into rowing when he was wandering around campus.
“It was club day. A few of the guys and girls grabbed me and pulled me to the table for rowing and said you have to try rowing, you’re a big guy,” said Csima. “A few of the girls were pretty good looking, so I ended up showing up the next day at rowing practice, the rest is history.”
LISTEN: Canadian Olympic silver medalist Doug Csima talks to Humber News.
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