Kenora’s Gabe Mastromatteo represented Canada and Northwestern Ontario at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Now that the games are over and Mastromatteo has now returned to Kenora for the summer, KenoraOnline had the opportunity to sit down and chat with him about his experience at the Olympics.
“It was pretty cool, overall, it was the Olympics, it's what I’ve been getting ready for basically my whole life. It was pretty rewarding to be there, also on a performance aspect, individually, I thought I did pretty well. I was happy with how I swam and used it as a learning experience,” said Mastromatteo
Mastromatteo competed in the 100m Men’s Breaststroke where he placed 38th overall with a time of 1:01.56, the 4x100 Men’s Medley Relay where team Canada finished 7th in the final, and the 4x100 Mixed Medley Relay where team Canada finished 13th overall.
Even though Mastromatteo didn’t receive a medal, he walked away from the games with so much more.
“There’s a lot of technical aspects I took away and training aspects. The most important thing I took away was on the motivation side of things, you always want to be there and once I actually got there I realized It was just a taste and I wanted a lot more of it. It definitely kind of amped up the motivation for the next three years,” says Mastromatteo
Even though there is a lot of pressure on athletes to perform and succeed at the Olympics, Mastromatteo added when he was swimming he was having fun and enjoying the experience.
He had the opportunity to race against the top swimmers in the world and he noted that it was an experience in itself to just be able to watch how other athletes prepare and execute a race.
Once back in Kenora, Mastromatteo couldn’t believe the amount of support he received from Kenora and Northwestern Ontario.
“Lots of love, which is pretty cool. The signs that everyone has put up and it’s always fun coming back home. Everyone in this community is so easy to be around, It’s awesome,” noted Mastromatteo
One of his biggest supporters was his mother and former coach Janet Hyslop, who was surrounded by friends and family to watch her son achieve his Olympic dream.
“My first reaction is super proud, but proud doesn’t describe all the emotions that I felt when I watched him get up behind the block, dive in, and finish the race. We all have ideas of what our kids can do and the potential that they have and watching your child set a goal from a very early age and achieving that goal right on target, says Hyslop
"I just can’t express how I feel other than I am beyond proud and can’t wait for whatever comes next for him," said Hyslop
Hyslop also wanted to thank the whole community that supported Mastromatteo through his swimming and now Olympic journey.
“The support for not even Gabe but just the whole idea of taking an athlete from a community and getting them to the Olympic level and then showing your support is unbelievable. Gabe was overwhelmed and couldn’t believe the signs and the awesomeness of Kenora. Thank you the City of Kenora and all the people who supported Gabe,” added Hyslop
Mastromatteo will enjoy the summer in Kenora and then return to school this fall at the University of Toronto and continue his training and prepare for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.