Oct. 23, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The IU Varsity Club recently sat down with Indiana high jumper Derek Drouin to learn more about him and his experiences at the Olympic games this past summer.
Q: You are originally from Ontario Canada; so, why the Hoosiers?
A: Coach Helmer reached out to me for a visit. I liked the competiveness and the attention that athletics gets here. It's incredible, the amount of support and benefits that you get from being an athlete. I realize that most schools will put in a lot of effort and resources into their sports teams, but the tradition was important to me and the team was already strong when I came in.
Q: Coming from Canada, what was the biggest adjustment?
A: It actually wasn't that big of a deal. Canada and the States are pretty similar; a lot of the time I forget that I'm not even in the same country.
Q: How would you interpret the Spirit of Indiana?
A: The easiest and best way for me is just to look every year at the awards banquet and just to see the athletes who win the "Spirit of Indiana Award." (Read "IU Athletics Honors Student-Athletes at Spirit of Indiana Showcase," April 23, 2012). Just looking to see who they are as people just defines it. They are people who have so much pride in their school, and they do so much for the school, and they're cheering on every other sport. They do incredible things in academics and athletics and they do great things in general. I think they, as a group, really define the Spirit of Indiana.
Q: You're putting on your jersey, getting ready to compete at NCAA's. What is that feeling like to bring home hardware, not only for yourself as a 3-time NCAA Champion, but also for the Hoosiers?
A: I have an easier time when I'm trying to tell myself I'm doing it for the team. I generally compete a whole lot better at Big Ten and NCAA meets that are scored and that I'm doing it for the team. I love doing as many events as I can to try and score for the team. When I first came in, I went to NCAA's as the only guy. So, there wasn't really a team aspect to it and I didn't do so well. Ever since then, I've had other people there and we've been competing for a team spot. I love being on a team. Even though Track and Field is an individual sport, there still is a team aspect that makes it easier and more fun.
Q: What was it like competing in London this summer? What was it like representing team Canada as well as the Hoosiers?
A: Indiana had some incredible athletes in the games this year and we walked away with a couple of medals; it was an honor to be a part of that group. Competing for your country is like nothing other. It was funny, I was out there thinking, "You're in the Olympic Final, go out and have fun." I got to a point where I had to start telling myself, "Pretend this is the NCAA championships and you're trying to compete for Indiana." That's what I had to tell myself. I do so well when I compete for a team. It seems silly that I'm at the Olympics and I had to bring myself down to the NCAA Championships, but that's what I had to do to--pretend that I was trying to win one for Indiana. It sounds silly and I didn't tell people that for a while, but it served as my motivation.
Q: What does your athletic scholarship mean to you?
A: Obviously it takes off an incredible monetary burden so it's nice that you can give something back to the school in that sense. Sure, you can get an academic scholarship and have your education paid for, but it's nice to get that and represent the school on the track. We do volunteer work with the other sports and you really feel like you're giving back to the school in some way.
Q: If you had the opportunity to meet the donors who paid for your scholarship, what would you say to them?
A: Obviously it would be very nice to meet them and thank them and it would just be fun to sit around and tell them how much I appreciate it--all that it's done for me and all of the things I hope to do in the future because of what they've given to me. It's hard to put into words how much their generosity means.