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Our Stories

Q&A with Dr. Lee Schofield

Toronto, February 8, 2018

By Kelly O'Brien

Dr. Lee Schofield
Dr. Lee Schofield

Dr. Lee Schofield is a family physician at the St. Lawrence Health Centre who also works as a sports and exercise medicine physician. He is in South Korea as part of Team Canada’s core medical team for the Winter Olympics.

Q. Tell us about your role with Team Canada.
A. The Canadian Olympic Committee sponsors a core group of medical volunteers who support multiple sports and also run the Canadian Medical Clinic in the two Olympic villages. I am working primarily with long track speed skating, so I cover all of the competition events for those 19 athletes and many of their practices.

Q. How did you get involved with Team Canada?
A. I began in 2011, volunteering and working at the local or provincial level, and started getting more experience with senior level national competition and multisport games. My first experience with the Canadian Olympic Committee was in 2014 when I traveled to China as chief medical officer for Team Canada for the Youth Olympic Games. I was part of the core medical team at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, the Rio 2016 Summer Games and now the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. This has been a dream come true for me.

Q. How does this Olympic experience compare to the Rio 2016 games?
A. Rio was incredible. The atmosphere was electric! The people of Brazil were so proud to host the first Olympics in South America. I was covering four sports: equestrian, beach volleyball, triathlon and track cycling. These Games have been very different so far. It is much colder than I expected! I am covering primarily one sport, so I can focus my time and energy on its athletes.

Team Canada’s core medical team for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
Team Canada’s core medical team for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
Q. What are you most excited about for these Olympics?
A. The most exciting thing to me is always the atmosphere. We are fully integrated into the Canadian team, and live here in the village with the athletes and mission team. That creates such an exciting vibe, and we get the chance to experience the highs (and sometimes the lows) of the Canadian Olympic experience. I have never been to Korea before, so the cultural adjustment is always an interesting experience for me.

I’m also excited about the fact that Canada owns winter sport! We have the chance to be a top performing country, and I am excited to see how that unfolds at the Games.

Q. Do you have a best/favourite story from your time with Team Canada?
A. One thing that people don't realize is that our role is entirely volunteer and we often step into other roles apart from a traditional medical role. When I worked with equestrian, I would help to cool the horses down after the cross country event with large cold sponges. The support staff had a good laugh at my fear of getting kicked by the horse. My other amazing story was from Rio 2016 covering the beach volleyball venue, which faced out into the ocean from Copacabana Beach. Our first men's match was against the host country and when we walked into the stadium to see 10,000 people in the stands, it was almost overwhelming!

Q. If you were to win a gold medal, what would it be for?
A. I asked my teammates, and they said I would win a gold medal for communication, because I like to talk so much! I will take that as a compliment!

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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