The family of the Montreal Olympians say it’s hard to cheer at home instead of in the stands


When Quebec artistic swimmer Jacqueline Simono prepares to participate in her second Olympic Games, her family will not cheer for her in the stands.

Due to the pandemic, family members of athletes are not allowed to accompany them to Tokyo.

For Simoneau’s mother Lynda South, not being present was disappointing.

According to Nan’s statistics, she has only missed a few games in her daughter’s career, and the Olympics are not just another swimming event.

“It’s actually a bit heartbreaking. It’s really tough, especially after that Rio experience. You sit in the stands, you see the Olympic rings, and you know your daughter is swimming under the Olympic rings. This awesome.”

Although Simono participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she and her teammate Karin Thomas finished seventh in the women’s technical duo. Simoneau now competes with Claudia Holzner.

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Teammates Claudia Holzner (left) and Simoneau will participate in an artistic swimming women’s technique duet competition in Tokyo. (Submitted by Linda South)

Although having to stay at home to participate in the 2021 game, Nan said that when she watched the game at her home in Montreal, she was still immersed in all this excitement.

“I have goose bumps. I have made my adrenaline soar and excited. And I think it’s great for my daughter to participate in her second Olympics. It will be an amazing experience,” she said.

Nan has booked a flight to Tokyo with Simono’s boyfriend Steven Findley. But when they learned that fans were not allowed to participate in the event, they were forced to cancel the trip.

Nan said: “Having to give up all of this, this is a huge, huge heartbreak.”

“It’s definitely tough,” Findlay added. “What I want most is to stand in the stands, let her participate in the competition, be able to wave to her and support her-knowing that we are there to cheer for her and help her achieve her goals.”

Watch | Family members say there is nothing better than support in the stands:

Lynda South, the mother of artistic swimmer Jacqueline Simoneau, was heartbroken because she was unable to travel to Tokyo. 1:18

Findlay was determined to witness Simeno’s participation in the game with his own eyes. So he and Nan booked the Hungarian Open in early July at the last minute, where Simono won five medals.

He said: “It is a proud moment to see her on the podium and win these gold medals.”

Nan said that this trip helped fill some gaps in not going to Tokyo.

“I cried like a baby when she was swimming. It was amazing,” she said.

Nan said she talked to her daughter every day, and with the help of a very special teddy bear, she felt closer to her.

Simoneau’s mother bought her this bear and two spare bears to help her make her family feel closer at the end of the game. (Jean-Claude Tagliana/CBC)

“I bought her a bear, we call it the best bear, so before she swims, she can give a bear a hug, this is my hug to her,” Nan said.

There are three plush teddy bears in the family: one stays at home with South, the other travels with Simoneau’s father who travels frequently, and the third Simoneau has been kept in her bag.

Nan said that this small move made her feel connected with her family far away.


Jacqueline Simoneau will join her teammate Claudia Holzner (Claudia Holzner) in the free regular preliminaries of the Art Swimming Duo at 6:30 am EST on Monday. Watch the live broadcast on CBC Gem, CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website. View the full streaming schedule here.



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