Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started playing table tennis in 2009 at the age of 9. My father used to play table tennis in his teen years and he has not played the sport for decades. One day at my elementary school during parents night, my classmate’s father asked my dad if he was interested to go to the local club to play with him. My dad was shocked because he had not played in decades and he was surprised that my classmate’s father also loved the sport. When my dad went to the local club to play with him, he brought me along to watch. A few weeks later, I started to pick up the racket and start playing.
At first, I was a regular elementary school child playing a sport as an extracurricular activity. Who knew that one day I would take this sport professionally and become an Olympian after 11 years? If one is dedicated to achieving their dreams, nothing is impossible.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
After a few months of playing, I was already beginning to win local tournaments. My coach knew I had talent at the time because he had never seen someone who could beat so many players considering the time that I had played. He then recommended that I give it a try and take the sport seriously. After a year, I started winning provincial titles. It wouldn’t be until 2011 until I make the national cadet team. This was an achievement for me because I made the national team within 2 years of playing the sport. At the age of 12, I already had national junior titles and started competing internationally. At the time, I placed in the top 8 at the World Hopes team trials (similar to the world championships for under 12) and was selected to be on the World hopes team along with 5 other kids from different continents. Within 3 years, I have already achieved an international presence in the sport. In 2013, I was considered a prodigy by the Globe and Mail after being the youngest Canadian athlete to earn a spot on the Senior National Table Tennis Team. Years have gone by and I have won more junior national titles and some international titles in the under 15 and 18 categories. In 2018 after my completion of high school, I decided to give up my university studies and achieve my Olympic dream. This is a dream for any professional athlete in any sport. In order to achieve this, athletes must sacrifice everything they have and focus only on their one goal. After 2 years of sweat, pain, and tears, I finally achieved my dream after qualifying for the Olympics. All the sacrifices that I have made have finally come to a reality.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
A tip to recommend to other table tennis players would be to always stay positive and never give up, no matter the circumstance. If you are spending your time using positive energy, the chances are that you will be using your energy more efficiently and you will rarely feel burned out. If you keep thinking about failure, you will easily become exhausted and you are more likely to feel agitated which could lead to anxiety and depression.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I am definitely most grateful for the support of my parents. Without their emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial support, I would not have achieved what I had today. Whether it was financing my sporting expenses or being there for me no matter what happened, they always showed their support as parents.
After I graduated from high school in 2018, I was considering giving up my college studies to chase my dream by trying to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The other side of me was telling me to give up table tennis and to go to college and get a degree, just like my other classmates. Days went by and my parents were the best people I could turn to for advice. Upon discussion with them, they told me that no matter which option I had chosen they would accept it and support me either way. After hearing this, I felt much more relaxed and felt really comfortable. Knowing that they would support me either way, I decided to give up my college studies and chase my Olympic dream.
In the spring of 2020, it was confirmed by the International Table Tennis Federation and the Canadian Olympic Committee that I have earned my spot in the Men’s singles event at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
After achieving my Olympic dream I finally realized that I have made the correct decision. Most importantly, the support of my parents is what made me choose to chase my Olympic dream. Without their presence, who knows where I would have been today!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Yes, as a 20-year-old professional table tennis player, I have always tried to guide and give advice to younger children around the world.
On Olympic Day 2020 (6/23/20), I was featured on a webinar for an Indian sporting organization named “Sports for All”. On the webinar, I was speaking to hundreds of young Indian school kids on my journey to becoming an Olympian. I hope that my journey inspired them and I also hope that they achieve their dreams one day, no matter what it is.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson is a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien which states: “Short cuts make long delays.” This quote was relevant during my daily training. As an athlete, I train 4-5 hours per day and 6 days a week. Sometimes when I feel a little pain in my body, I feel like reducing the hours of my weekly training. After hearing the quote, “Short cuts make long delays.”, I kept reminding myself that if I trained less my improvement would slow down and I may not achieve my projected results on time. I decided to take this quote by heart and realized that if I wanted to achieve my Olympic dream in 2020, I must put in the full work and not take any short cut. By taking a shortcut, I may still be able to achieve my Olympic dream but it would probably be in 2024 during the next Olympic games, rather than now, in 2020.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Instagram account is @Jeremyhazin. Photos and videos of me in the competition can also be found on Google and/or YouTube when searching my name (Jeremy Hazin).