The ups and downs of Drouin’s Pan Am Games

Corunna’s Jillian Drouin, right, completed four heptathalon events before being forced to bow out of the Pan Am Games in Toronto by a hamstring injury and illness. Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada

Barry Wright

The recent Pan Am Games were a roller coaster of emotion for Corunna’s Jillian Drouin.

The event included the thrill of competing on home soil and watching her younger brother Derek win a gold medal in the men’s high jump, she said.

But sandwiched between was the devastation of being forced to withdraw from the women’s heptathlon by illness and injury.

“Unfortunately, just two days out from me competing, I did get sick quick,” she said, noting a virus or flu-like bug was making the rounds in the athletes village. But, after taking a day to recover and feeling prepared to compete, she suffered what turned out to be a torn hamstring in warm-ups for the heptathlon Friday morning. She withdrew on the second day after competing in just four of eight events.

“I was devastated,” she said.  “You put so much time and effort into it (preparing) but you can’t control getting sick. You can control getting injured.”

Drouin will take the next six weeks to recover and begin training next season, ready to take a run at qualifying for the Summer Olympics in Brazil next year.

“There are bigger things down the road to focus on,” she said.  “Rio has always been a goal for me over the past couple of years.”

While her disappointment at the Pan Am Games is still fresh, she also experienced the silver lining of being up close and personal as brother Derek took top spot in his specialty with a leap of 2.37 metres.

“If I was competing, I would have been out on the track myself (when he was competing) and trying to watch, maybe on the jumbo screen, between throws and jumps,” she said.  “This way I was trackside, right there watching.”

Jillian says her young brother never ceases to amaze her with his strength and consistency.

“It’s so fun to watch him every time he jumps. We’re all so proud of him.”