'Simple Gifts' Aaron Copland
10 August 2012, 11:26
Canada’s professional athletes are flexing a very different set of muscles – 19 out of the 277 competing in the Olympics are classically trained musicians.
Pursuing a career as a professional athlete or musician involves a great deal of dedication and skill. Making enough time in the day for instrumental practice is sometimes a struggle, let alone finding time to hit the gym – unless you live in Canada.
19 out of the 277 Canadian Olympic athletes are graduates of a nationwide music programme, based at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto – that’s almost 7% of the team.
“It would surprise you to know that I’m a classically trained pianist,” said Canadian rower Michael Braithwaite. He’s been competing in the men’s double sculls over the course of the Games.
He’s joined on the team by Jeremiah Brown who studied piano, drums, singing, and songwriting, before taking up rowing, and clarinetist-turned-hammer thrower Heather Steacy.
Perhaps this will encourage classical musicians to put down their instruments and take up sport. Which classical artists do you want to see at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics?