Os Karl-Olivier | Chess game on the waters of Tokyo


In 2008, Quebecer Karl-Olivier Bon participated in his first Olympic Games in sailing. Thirteen years later, at the age of 40 and crossing a long depression, he got back on his sailboat and sailed the waters of Tokyo.

Katherine harvey pinard

While many Quebec parents register their children for hockey or soccer, Carl-Olivier Bonne has decided to register them for sailing at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club in Montreal.

“At first, I didn’t like it very much,” says the main person concerned. I wanted to be fair to my school friends, but my parents wouldn’t let me.

Everyone called Oliver when he was young, at 14, when he started competing, fell in love with the sport, he recalls. He liked the combination of physical effort and mental effort of “playing chess on the water against other boats”.

Over the years, the young Oliver proved himself in sports until he competed in his first Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. There he was 29 years old.I and last place in the men’s 470 event.

“As an athlete it wasn’t a great experience, but as a person it was amazing,” he says.

Photo provided by Sail Canada

Os Karl-Olivier

Upon his return to Quebec, he learned that he was suffering from depression.

“It was a problem that I had for a long time,” he says. The saucepan overflowed. It was after the Olympics that it really hit the mark. ”

Difficulty getting up, eating, staying in the morning… Bone decided to retire from sailing in 2011, when the depression was at its height.

“There is no happiness,” he explains. These are dark thoughts. It’s hard to be with friends, to work, to do all that… ”

With the help of his parents, friends, a family therapist and a psychologist, the Beaconsfield native managed to recover. In 2017, he was getting better, he says. Today, the athlete agrees to speak openly about this period of his life. Help people affected by mental health problems.

“It’s still a taboo subject,” he laments. Also because of Bell Day… Everyone says: “Come on, talk to me if you have a problem, I’ll help you! The next day, there is no more discussion. We would never do that with other diseases.

“We also need to talk about it because we have no support from the government. If we break a hand, we get help. We’re going to see the doctor, we’re recovering. But if the spirit is broken, it’s up to you to get help. It’s you who are crazy, it’s your problem. “

to come back

The veil will also play a role in the healing of Oliver Bone. During his depression he started management. In fact, it wasn’t so much the game that the people he knew were helping him.

“There was a passion for life,” he says. It wasn’t necessarily a game, but it was watching people become obsessed with their jobs. ”

For years, Bone has worked with various employees, including Jacob and Graeme Saunders. He coached the two without supporting them until the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Then, quietly, the taste for competition returned to him.

In the summer of 2019, he offered his former student Jacob Saunders to team up with him. Together, they will try to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics – barely a year before they are held!

I thought to myself: why not give it a try? The worst part is that we spent a little money, we had fun, we saw old friends and we competed at a high level. It is not a bad result. BEST: We’re going to the Olympics.

olive bone

Regardless, the duo managed to qualify for the World Cup in January 2020 in Miami thanks to a decent performance. At 40, Oliver Bone will once again represent Canada at the Olympics. When we say that age does not matter!

“I’m excited!” Said the man who now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Oliver Bone and Jacob Saunders qualified for the Olympics just six months before the event, which was due to take place in July 2020.

Then came the pandemic. So he had more time than expected to prepare, but with prevention and public health measures in place, his life will not be easy. Due to health regulations, Bone had to move from Halifax to Chester to be able to train with his partner.

“I still have my apartment in Halifax,” Quebeker explains. Jacob’s parents had a small apartment in the basement. My dog ​​and I have moved. We came here to train. ”

Obviously, both players would like to do well in the Japanese capital, but their main goal is to have fun. Especially since they will not have much time to prepare their opponents.

If we finish first, excellent. If we finish last, then great. We’ll do our best with the time we have and see what the outcome will be.

olive bone

In Tokyo, as in Miami, Oliver Bone and Jacob Saunders will use a boat loaned to them by the American duo Stu McNay and David Hughes.

“It’s really thanks to them that we can do all of this,” he said. I was unable to buy the boat and the equipment. ”

Nor play chess on the waters of Tokyo.


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