Engaging in multiple sports helped Mustang Conor Trainor, BESc’13, evolve into an elite athlete who has earned a place on Team Canada’s men’s rugby 7’s team competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I played everything I could growing up and have brought many aspects of other sports into my game,” Trainor said. “Winning kickoffs is a huge part of rugby and the skills gained from boxing out and rebounding in basketball play a huge role. I also have a pretty good [handle on] kicking up a poor pass into my hand, so soccer skills play a part, too.”
Trainor was a member of Western’s varsity men’s rugby team from 2008 to 2013. He also spent one year on the Mustangs track & field team as a sprinter.
“I think that all my experiences in life up until this point have contributed to me making it to the Olympics, and Western was a huge part of my life, so it helped a huge amount,” he said.
Trainor started with the national team in his second year at Western. He said learning how to be an elite-level athlete while still finishing his degree prepared him for his career.
“Managing stress makes up a big portion of my life, and my time at Western helped me cultivate that skill,” Trainor said.
This is Trainor’s first Olympics, and while the journey to Tokyo took a bit of detour – with the 2020 Games postponement – reaching this moment to finally be able to compete is even more special for Trainor.
“My team and I missed qualification in 2016 [Rio Games] when rugby was first introduced to the Olympics, so this will be my first Olympics. I left rugby sevens to play professionally in France after 2016, so I wasn’t there when the team qualified. I ended up breaking my contract in France early to come back and try to make the team in the beginning of 2020. Although it took a year longer than I thought it would, I am very happy with my decision,” he said.
Trainor shared an important lesson he’s learned throughout his time as a professional athlete. “Being selfish with your time is an especially important lesson, and I’m happy I learned it young. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own decisions, and if you let others sway that process you might have regrets. I make sure I do what I need to do to continue to play at a high level and then go from there. I don’t fit my training around other parts of my life.”
Read more about Trainor’s journey to the Tokyo Olympics here.
For more on the Games, visit Western at the Tokyo Olympics.