By Ian Froese
Hailee Morisseau has a memento to commemorate the time she was opening ceremonies flag bearer at the Power Smart Manitoba Summer Games—and it’s made of cardboard and paper.
Her Team Central triathlon coach John Ferg made it a moment Morisseau won’t soon forget, handing her a small cardboard stick, with a printed sheet of a Canadian flag taped to it. It was crafted as a memorable way to tell Morisseau and her team the 17-year-old from Portage la Prairie has been selected as Team Central’s flag bearer.
“I was surprised,” she recalled. “I wasn’t really expecting it.”
It’s her experience in the sport, and the guidance she offers her younger teammates, that led Morisseau to be nominated as flag-bearer.
“She does such great work with helping some of the other kids with swimming and triathlon,” explained Team Central’s Chef de Mission Leanne Traynor.
Triathlon was a sport Morisseau came across on a poster five years ago when she gave it a shot. A year later, she was a triathlon bronze medalist at the 2012 Games.
Since then, she’s travelled the province as part of the triathlon program Kids of Steel, which preps budding triathletes on swimming, cycling and running. She now also trains with a group in Winnipeg. To better her swimming, which was her weakest discipline four years ago, Morisseau is involved in the Portage swimming club. She teaches swimming as well and works as a lifeguard.
When she finds the time, she enjoys badminton, cross-country, track and field and plays hockey.
A veteran of these Games, Morisseau has been fielding questions from her younger comrades, even on the bus ride to Steinbach.
She has a top three placing “in mind,” given there’s only three competitors in total, she said with a laugh, but her sights are set on improving.
“I’m shooting to win, but I guess I’ll have to see what happens on race day, I’ll try my best.