Elaine Tanner, silver medallist in the 1968 Summer Olympics, says adults and kids can relate to her book ‘Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy’. - Karly Blats photo

Elaine Tanner, silver medallist in the 1968 Summer Olympics, says adults and kids can relate to her book ‘Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy’. - Karly Blats photo

Olympic legend Elaine Tanner portrays message of love, kindness in new children’s book

Former swimmer says adults, kids can relate to story

This year marks 50 years since Elaine Tanner became the first Canadian woman to win a swimming medal in the Summer Olympic Games.

Tanner, now a semi-permanent resident of Qualicum Beach, won three medals — silver in the 100- and 200-metre backstroke and bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay — in Mexico City in 1968 at age 17.

Her additional career highlights include setting five career world records, winning four gold medals and three silvers at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, winning two golds and three silvers at the 1967 Pan American Games, and earning the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 1966. She was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1969 and inducted in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1971.

Today Tanner, who resides with her husband John in the oceanside community, has taken the many life lessons she’s learned since her Olympic win and written them into a children’s book—Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy.

“I’ve learned so much through my journey,” Tanner said. “ Not only can children relate to [the book] but I also wrote it for the grandparents and the parents… it has great life lessons in it.”

Tanner said many of her life lessons stemmed from challenges and struggles she endured after winning silver at the Olympics.

Being a trailblazer in women’s swimming in Canada, Tanner said there was a heavy sense of expectation from her country for her to take home gold.

“Canada hadn’t really won much at all at the Olympics for medals, especially for swimming,” she said. “The entire Canadian Olympic team, nobody was really expected to win gold but me.”

Tanner said all of a sudden her passion for swimming became a task and “wasn’t really fun anymore.”

“It was more than me and my family, it was me and my country and I was just 17,” she said.

When she took silver instead of gold in her competitions, Tanner said the first thing people were asking after her race was ‘why did you lose?’ and ‘what happened?’

Tanner felt a colossal sense of disappointment and absence of identity after returning home from Mexico City.

“I had all the symptoms when I got home of post trauma, it changed me. I viewed myself as a winner and then all of a sudden the switch went from day to night and I saw myself as a loser.” Tanner said. “I was damaged and I had nobody to talk to.”

Tanner said she spent the next 20 to 30 years struggling with self-doubt.

She said meeting her husband, John, in 1988 helped her to get on the path of acceptance and forgiveness and to ultimately learn to love unconditionally—messages she’s embedded into her new book.

“The greatest power in the universe is love… and that’s what the whole book is about, loving unconditionally.”

Tanner no longer swims, due to an injured elbow, but enjoys all things outdoors and working to spread awareness of homelessness, mental health issues, animal rights and environmental concerns with her husband.

To learn more about Tanner, visit one of her websites at elainetanner.ca or questbeyondgold.ca.

karly.blats@pqbnew.com

Just Posted

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue logo on the back of a service vehicle. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide letters of support for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

ASAR asks for increase in funding, one-time capital grant and for RDN to buy out current facility

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read