Fashion

Letters from London: Inside Canada's Olympic House

Catching up with Pantene brand ambassadors and Canadian Olympic athlete Annamay Pierse

Canada Olympic House in London

Photo Courtesy of Canada Olympic House

Canada Olympic House in London

Photo Courtesy of Canada Olympic House

Poutine with a "British twist" at the Canada Olympic House

Photo Courtesy of Canada Olympic House

P&G mini-salon

Photo Courtesy of Canada Olympic House

Annamay Pierse

Photo Courtesy of Canada Olympic House

We’re halfway through the Games now, and what a huge weekend – both for Team GB but also Team Canada, which got its first gold medal! Woohoo! I had the chance to visit Canada Olympic House on Friday, which is reserved almost exclusively for friends and family of athletes and Team Canada supporters (though there are “open house” days when the Hudson Bay Company pop-up shop is open to the public – such a great way for me to stock up on the iconic striped pieces). There’s also a P&G mini-salon upstairs, offering makeup and hair touch-ups and even—seriously amazing—a Tide laundry service!

In the Procter & Gamble “Home Away from Home” lounge, red-clad Canadians watched the CTV-streamed coverage of the Games on giant screens, munched on “poutine with a British twist” (unfortunately, this meant mozzarella cheese rather than real cheese curds – I’ll take curds over mozza any day!), and where I got to meet Pantene brand ambassador Annamay Pierse and former Olympic swimmer Annamay Pierse. Born in Toronto and now based in Vancouver (though she’s moving back to Ontario this fall), the 28-year-old held a world record in the 200m breaststroke until American Rebecca Soni beat her time by 0.12 last week. Here’s what she had to say:

On London 2012:
She may not be competing, but she’s still completely involved—her boyfriend, Mark Oldershaw, qualified for Wednesday’s 1000m canoe singles this morning. “It’s incredible to be the one who’s in the stands,” marveled Pierse.

On competing at the Games:
“My favourite moment in Beijing was going up to the stands after my race, and seeing both of my parents so emotional,” she remembers. “Seeing how happy and proud they were of me was my favourite moment.”

On fashion: Absolutely no disrespect, but I wasn’t expecting to have much in common with a champion swimmer (I mean, seriously, I get scared when I can’t touch sand… and don’t even get me started on lakes), but turns out, Pierse and I have both lived in Alberta, Ontario, and BC… and both love fashion. “Shoes and handbags,” Pierse declares of her biggest fashion vice. “I basically turned the den in my Vancouver apartment into an accessories closet.” What’s more, as a reward for getting to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Pierse got her mom to buy her very first pair of Louboutins. Sounds like my kind of treat! For her trip to London, Pierse brought 20 pairs of shoes (that’s nearly one pair per day, by my calculations) and now, looks forward to starting a career in fashion, ideally as a stylist.

On P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign:
Already a devotee of Pantene’s Ice Shine and Conditioning Shake, Pierse is also a huge fan of the parent company’s “Thank You, Mom” Olympics campaign. “There’s seven kids in my family,” says Pierse, “with five competitive swimmers [Anna and her four younger sisters], so it was a full-time job for her and she just did it, to allow us to follow our dreams. She was the #1 person I called when I was upset, or when something good happened.” Thank you, Mom, indeed.

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