Western News – Team Canada rugby player credits Western years – Western News

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 a poor pass [up in the air] 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.

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Conor Trainor, front row, second from right, with Canada’s men’s rugby 7s team competing in Tokyo.  Photo courtesy of Conor Trainor

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.