Annie Guglia clicked. In 2016, when skateboarding entered the Olympic family and her followers grew into the hundreds on her social media, she realized she held a form of power. That of influencing.
“When you have that kind of power, I think it’s important to use it wisely,” says the friendly snowboarder on the phone.
It is somewhat in this sense that she recently agreed to become an ambassador for the Fondation Jeunes en tête. His role ? Talk about mental health, give tips for maintaining a good psychological balance and answer questions that young people don’t always dare to ask. All this through small capsules broadcast on social networks.
Annie Guglia has all kinds of things to say about it. As proof, our interview, which was supposed to last a quarter of an hour, finally stretched over thirty minutes.
Guglia’s desire to speak out and support the youth began to manifest itself in 2016, when she began her preparation to qualify for the first Olympic Games to include skateboarding. It was there, when the pressure on her shoulders was sometimes heavy to bear, that she realized the importance of taking care of her mental health.
“I realized that I had a lot of anxiety. It really brought it all out and I started seeing sports psychologists. It really helped me and I realized that throughout my adolescence, I could have benefited from having awareness about my mental health. »
In 2020, the snowboarder experienced a roller coaster of emotions. Initially, she did not get her place in the Olympics, despite so many years of effort and sacrifice.
“It was the first time I felt like I had failed and let everyone down,” she recalls. It was hard because when you succeed, it’s public, but when you fail, it’s public too. It was a bit humiliating. »
Guglia held her head high, she did not feel sorry for herself. She tried to see things positively. And with 36 hours notice, she learned that she would finally compete in the Olympic street course event in Tokyo. If his competition ended quickly, the athlete learned from all this epic of great learnings.
“One thing I would say to young people is to always be ready for your dreams, no matter what. It can be small scale or very large scale, but if there is an opportunity you want, you have to be ready to seize it when it comes. »
We feel Annie Guglia playful by her role as ambassador. A role not so new for the one who is used to being called upon to speak out on different causes: the LGBTQ community, women in sport…
In terms of tips and advice, she stresses to young people the importance of surrounding themselves with the right people.
“That’s the key,” she said. There’s a quote in English that says: If you can’t be who you are where you are, change where you are. That, I think, is super important. »
Guglia remembers a time when she made her decisions according to what society dictated to her. When she clicked, she understood the need to do what she was passionate about.
“All your energy, your time, your resources, your money, if you invest it in something you love today, it’s going to get you into a calling you love, whatever it is. »
Otherwise, Guglia continues to be involved in promoting diversity and inclusion in the world of sport and skateboarding. Her Instagram posts are filled with the colors of the rainbow. Last June, she took part in the Pride Parade in Toronto. Like every year at this time of year, she received hate on social media. “I rarely get hate, but it’s always homophobic and transphobic stuff,” she notes.
On this subject, the athlete tells us about the kits for young people offered by the Fondation Jeunes en tête online. “There are ways to help and support people who receive more hate because they are different. It’s tools like that that can help. »
Annie Guglia wears all kinds of hats, including being elected president of Canada Skateboard last winter. She also works for Vans.
For the past few years, she has decided not to embark on the new Olympic cycle in preparation for the Paris Olympics, in order to focus on her involvement in her sport and in the community. Being an ambassador for causes close to her heart is “full circle” for her, she says.
“I’m starting to touch everything that interests me. Having been an Olympic athlete, I can use my voice and my experience to make things happen even more. »
“If I go to Paris in 2024, it’s going to be to encourage our athletes! “, she concludes.