Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
Canadian heptathlon and pentathlon star Brianne Theisen-Eaton knows a thing or two about travel — and winning medals.
Born in Saskatchewan, the 27-year-old Theisen-Eaton is no stranger to success on the road. This week, Theisen-Eaton won Olympic bronze in the women’s heptathlon at the Rio Olympics, Canada’s 12th medal of the 2016 Summer Games.
Theisen-Eaton’s journey has taken her to tracks all over the world. She has competed in the 2012 London Olympics, the World Track and Field Championships in 2013 and 2015, and the 2014 World Indoor Games. She was also part of Canada’s bronze medal-winning 4×400-metre women’s relay team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Theisen-Eaton, who is married to Canadian decathlon hopeful Ashton Eaton, chatted with Vacay.ca prior to competing in Brazil.
Vacay.ca: You must be really excited to be in Rio. How has the training been going?
Brianne Theisen-Eaton: It’s been going well. I’m right on track for where I need to be.
Vacay.ca: Brazil has been in the news quite a bit, and the news hasn’t all been good. Pollution, Zika virus, political unrest. Are you worried?
Theisen-Eaton: I don’t take what the media says as complete truth. I’ve talked to a lot of the athletes who do water sports and have been down there for many test events last year and this year and they say the water is fine. Also all of them have said they didn’t see a single mosquito the whole time. I think Rio is going to do a fantastic job hosting the Olympic Games and I’m excited to go.
Vacay.ca: You have competed all over the world. What are some of your best travel memories?
Theisen-Eaton: I love competing in Austria because the food is great and the fans are awesome and knowledgeable. I also loved competing in Berlin.
Vacay.ca: Is there a place you like to go just to chill out — no work, no training? Just you and a good book?
Theisen-Eaton: At home. I’m never at home so I get so excited when I am just able to sit in my house and do nothing.
Vacay.ca: What are your favourite places to travel to in Canada?
Theisen-Eaton: Humboldt, Saskatchewan to see my family. I also love BC. Hiking and camping in the mountains and spending time in Vancouver.
Vacay.ca: You are working on a promotion with Crest called “Travel The World Like An Olympian.” How did you get involved with that?
Theisen-Eaton: I drink a lot of coffee and love candy so I use Crest every day to keep my teeth white and healthy. My partnership with Crest was a really natural fit — Crest has literally helped me #SmileThrough competition after competition. As you can imagine, being an Olympic athlete means I’ve had to master the art of travel so we thought it would be nice to share some of the tips I’ve learned along the way.
Vacay.ca: Okay, can you give us a few really awesome Brianne travel tips? What are some of the biggest things people overlook when they travel?
Theisen-Eaton: Drink a ton of water on the plane and your jet leg won’t be as severe. Never eat the airplane food … pack your own. Always bring a portable charger for your cell phone. Always pack one day’s worth of clothes and toiletries that you need in your carry-on bag.
Vacay.ca: I like your advice about travelling off-the-beaten path. I wonder about that, though. Is your time regimented, or will your coach give you and your team a chance to see some of Rio’s hidden gems?
Theisen-Eaton: It’s all about the competition schedule. Between mine and my husband’s, we’ll both be pretty busy and probably won’t get a chance to see a lot of Rio.
Vacay.ca: Canadians love travelling to Olympics to cheer on our athletes. What does it mean to you as an athlete to look up into the stands and see your flag?
Theisen-Eaton: This is my absolute favourite thing about major championships. You just feel so much pride when you see that.