Health secrets from an Olympic medallist

Former skater Elizabeth Manley embraces life by taking more ‘me’ time, and by giving back

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elizabeth manley

Taking charge

Remember when Elizabeth Manley clinched a silver medal at the Calgary 1988 Olympics? For the next two decades, she dazzled ice-show crowds, often with her signature leap into the lap of a spectator. Now a coach, she stepped in front of the cameras again as a commentator at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. It may sound like a fairy tale on ice, but she’s also endured a daunting work schedule, her father’s Alzheimer’s and her mother’s death from ovarian cancer. “I wasn’t paying attention to my health,” says Manley, 44, of the 30 extra pounds she put on. Early this year, she started a healthy weight-loss plan. “It was time to take care of me.”

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Create strength out of struggle

“I had a stress-related breakdown in my early teens, and in a strange way it was one of the best things that happened. I discovered the confidence to do what’s right for me. Once I felt in control, that’s when I accomplished my Olympic dream.”

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Gain from giving

“The education and the support I’ve received from being a spokesperson for Ovarian Cancer Canada has been therapeutic. I come home feeling like I’ve done something good.”

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Ask for help

“There’s a stigma to admitting that you’re suffering. But you need to let the people around you help you through. My husband, Brent [Theobald-a former Ontario Hockey League player], has been the calm in my storm.”

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Think like a cat

“A 20-minute nap is perfect for recharging. I used to curl up under my makeup table between ice shows.”

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Unwind in your own way

“Once in a while, I take a ‘Liz day’: in my pyjamas with the poodles, the TV, and the phone turned off! The other way I relax? Doing housework. I was on the road for so long that it’s a pleasure to look after my own home.”

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