Canada Winter Games: Shawna Pearman knows all about the athlete experience

Volunteer profile: Shawna Pearman, long track speedskating sport lead

Meet Shawna Pearman, the four-time Canada Games alumna bringing her wealth of experience to the 2019 Canada Winter Games as the long track speedskating Sport Lead.

Shawna has been a part of the 2019 Games team for more than two years. In her role, she is responsible for recruiting of sport-specific volunteers, managing equipment and the Field of Play at Games time and helping the Host Society create competition plans.

It is an important role, but getting involved was an easy decision. Shawna knows how impactful the Games can be because of her first-hand experience.

Her Canada Games story begins at the 1975 Canada Winter Games in Lethbridge. Pearman qualified for Team Manitoba’s long track speedskating team that competed in Alberta’s first Canada Winter Games.

“I was pretty overwhelmed because I was so young,” Pearman says. “To me, this was like the Olympic Games because it was this massive event. I still remember standing and waiting to go into the Opening Ceremony and thinking ‘I can’t believe I’m here. This is just the greatest event.’ ”

Pearman wasn’t done yet. At the 1977 Canada Summer Games in St. John’s, N.L., she competed as a softball athlete and then carried the flag into the Opening Ceremony of the 1979 Canada Winter Games in Brandon, Man. Pearman also coached long track speedskating at the 1983 Games in Saguenay and Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec.

For Pearman, her Games experience was more than just competing in a sport.

“The competition is always great, I won a couple of bronze medals. And winning is great, but that just fades away. That’s not the important thing, the friendships are,” Shawna explains.

The friendships she made at the 1975 Games were built to last. Shawna is still friends with the Manitoba speedskating team from those Games, and they see each other every so often.

The Canada Games were a launching pad for a life spent in sport. After graduating from the University of Manitoba, Pearman headed west and started working with Alberta Speed Skating as a technical director. She would also work with the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and International Special Olympics in Reno, Nev.

Now, she co-ordinates high school sports in Central Alberta, manages the financials for the family business in Ponoka, and she is the head coach of the Red Deer Speed Skating Club.

After dedicating so much time to sport, Shawna knows volunteers are crucial to creating an event like the 2019 Games and encourages others to get involved.

“This event is for the athletes who have worked so hard to get here. Being a part of the Games and seeing the athletes participate, you just can’t describe that feeling,” Shawna explains.

“By volunteering, you become a part of this community. You meet new people, you have new experiences.”

Join Shawna on Team 2019 today and help create a life-shaping Games experience. Visit canadagames.ca/2019/volunteer to learn more about the opportunities available and start your application.

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