Gold Medalist Mandy Bujold | The Female Fist | Talkin Fight
EPISODE: Episode 2
The Female Fist with Scarlett Delgado and special guest Olympian Mandy Bujold!!
Watch The Female Fist with @ScarlettDelgadoBoxer on YouTube or LIVE at talkinfight.com/live Friday’s at 2pm EST
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Thank you everybody for tuning in to the second episode of the female fist.
I have a really exciting guest with us today.
Not only is she the 11 time canadian champion? Not only has she won three continental championships.
Not only is she the time pan am gold champion.
Please welcome our canadian representative in the 2016 rio olympic games, mandy bujolt, so much joining us thanks for having me no problem.
So some of the people in the audience are not aware of your background.
Who is mandy bujold? What made her? Who she is today? Where did she start? Where were your roots, um yeah? So for me i actually started boxing later on in life, so i was about 16 years old when i walked into a boxing gym um and i kind of followed in my brother’s footsteps, although when he was actually in the gym, he didn’t want me to to Be there training with him, so i actually had to wait till he stopped um started doing some other things before i had my opportunity.
So i remember just kind of asking a friend to come to the gym with me, which i think a lot of girls do at the beginning.
You know a boxing gym can be intimidating um.
So i just needed kind of someone to come with me that first time and then i was hooked – i i just absolutely fell in love with the sport.
I fell in love with.
You know how demanding it is um just how hard it is to perfect, and i think that’s what has kept me um interested in just trying to get better and better every day, good for you.
That’S really inspiring for a lot of young girls that you’re right boxing gym is kind of intimidating to walk into, even today, with all the progress that we’ve made as women.
It’S still like a very male dominant atmosphere, it’s hard for a young 16 year old girl to say i belong here in this environment, but i started in kitchener right, yep yep, so i’m uh in kitchen ontario and i’ve spent most of my career here.
There was um – i guess, five years before 2016, where i was actually living and training in toronto with um adrian at atlas um.
So i have moved back um since since the rio olympics, but um and now i’m training with uh sid at sid, fit right where i i’ve been visiting you last year, which has been yeah wonderful gym.
You guys have a great system working on there and uh coach adrian coach adrian.
I don’t know if i’m saying his name right, yes, yeah! So for those who don’t know who that amazing coach is, he was the coach of 1988 olympic medalist lennox lewis, who is also heavyweight world champion, and he was a full-time coach for mandy bujold on her pursuit to the pan.
Am games and olympic games youtube.
Very close yeah i mean adrian was a legend uh in the boxing world.
You know, i think, when he first came to canada, i think it was in the 80s.
I can’t remember exactly but um you know at that point.
He was, you know, a national team coach.
He had coached.
Basically, anyone in canada who’s ever become.
You know an olympian or a world champion um, so he just has so much knowledge, so much experience so just having him work with you having him in your corner.
Having him believe in you just gives you a whole different level of belief, because you know he knows what it takes um, so we had definitely a special relationship and you know i still carry a lot of the things with me that you know i’ve learned over The years working with him um and i’m very grateful that i did have that time with him.
Yes, he was a really strong individual, like nobody even knew when he like when he was sick.
I didn’t know he was so.
Neither did i do doing how to work with his eyes.
When i found out, i was like what i swear to god.
He was just in the ring with the other adrian.
That was that atlas i swear.
I saw him doing pad work with him.
He was yeah really strong, yeah yeah.
He was definitely very strong.
I want anyone to, i think, feel bad for him um, so i mean even for me he was.
I knew he was sick that there was something going on, but i didn’t know that it was cancerous or that, like you know, he only had x amount of time to live so um.
It was a little.
It was unfortunate for me because i didn’t feel like i really had that opportunity to like thank him and talk to him and like have those moments um to be able to really say goodbye, but um.
You know i i just.
I think that’s just the way he was.
He was a fighter right till the end um, so i mean he that was.
That was his way, so yeah yeah, we’ll say when you were competing at the olympics and we were all watching that atlas.
You could see the he was very proud, yeah very proud.
There was a moment that he actually excused himself when you were on one of your breaks, and i think that he was, i think he like between us.
I think he was a little teary-eyed a little bit.
Oh yeah, proud of you yeah, like that he yeah it was a really special moment.
The love you can visually see it.
Yeah yeah, you guys had a beautiful bond and speaking of your olympic games, not many people know what was going on with you during that time.
Like can you walk us through from when you landed in rio up into that second match um yeah, so getting to rio? Everything was great um.
I felt great.
We had a great training camp leading up to um the olympics um.
You know our draw came out.
Um i initially drew uzbekistan um for my first fight, so that fight happened.
It didn’t know anything.
So there was um 16 girls in my weight class or no sorry, there was 12 girls, my weight class, only two of them – i didn’t know – and she was one of the two that i didn’t know.
Of course, i had no idea like when stepping into the ring if she was going to be orthodox if she was going to be southpaw and that’s really tough at an olympic games, because normally you can do a little bit of research.
But for some reason i couldn’t find anything on this girl other than how she had qualified and who she beat to qualify um so anyway, that was, i think, the biggest challenge of that first fight was just getting in there and having to adapt really quickly and, Like a high pressure, uh situation um, but the fight went really well um.
You know i was able to to win that fight on a unanimous decision and then i had.
I think it was four days off in between two fights because the tournament’s so long, so it is a bit more spread out um.
So we just continued training, continued staying, sharp um, and then you know the day before my quarterfinal match, which you know winning that fight would have been a guaranteed medal.
I was going up against um ren kankan from china, yeah yeah who’s.
You know a very strong opponent: she’s she’s won multiple world championships, she’s an olympic silver medalist um.
So i knew it was going to be a tough fight, she’s, a southpaw, very skilled boxer and um yeah.
So anyway, as i was preparing for um, you know everything that day, you know doing my my weight cut.
Um, you know preparing my bag.
I just started to feel ill and um.
You know i was laying in bed and i at first.
I just thought you know what this is nerves.
This is i’m at the olympic games.
Um it just really.
Yes, yeah something’s, not right, because it was my stomach, so i just thought.
No, i’m fine.
I just tried to like ignore it and just you know, try to fall asleep and then i just kept tossing and turning and then finally i got up and i got sick and then again i was like okay, maybe that’s just out of my system now i You know, can you just go to bed, just relax, don’t have to think about the fight most of us yeah yeah, and then anyway, i got up again and i got sick and i thought okay.
This is it like i’m trying to convince myself, there’s no way that, after all these years of training that i am sick in this moment, this is not happening.
So you know after the third time it was probably about two in the morning two or three in the morning.
I remember my coach telling me that there’s doctors like in our building that could um help us at any time.
So i called i called daniel and i basically told him: hey like i’ve been sick.
You know for the last few hours i don’t know.
I think i need to see a doctor so nervous, even like yeah they’re.
Just in that moment the doctor just to see yeah nervous yeah, so we we went up.
We saw the doctor, like the canadian doctor um, they tried to give me some medication right away.
They knew it was kind of a tourist virus and there were some other athletes that had gotten sick throughout the time there.
So they kind of knew exactly what to look for.
So they were giving me some medication, but i wasn’t able to keep it down like every time.
They’D give me something i was you know sick again, so the doctor actually ended up, because so we were gon na go to the hospital, but the hospital only opened at a certain time.
So the the doctor, let me sleep in her bed um and she basically sat next to me and every time i got sick.
She tried to like give me something else um, so it wasn’t like.
I hardly i mean i hardly even slept, because all i was thinking about was just like my my mind was just going: oh, my god, how am i gon na do this? My energy was feeling depleted more and more um.
Anyway, i got up in the morning.
Um we went over to weigh in, and i think what i weighed in is what like shocked me the most, because i knew i was on weight going to bed and then, when i waited, and i weighed in like super light and the the girl weighing me In kind of looked at me and was like, did you see what your weight was um anyway? So i had lost quite a bit.
I think it was like six pounds in fluids overnight, so it was.
It was not fun.
So right after that, you know i started to try to.
They were trying to give me like gatorade with some water in it.
You know some toast so simple stuff to eat, to try to regain some energy, but it just it just wasn’t working.
So we went over to the hospital and at that point i was just so weak.
I could hardly even walk over there um.
So then they started giving me like they had an iv.
In me, they were putting um just replacing some fluids with like saline to try to give me some fluids back um, but there was so many so much going on right.
It was just such a high pressure moment um.
I i just remember, like all these doctors trying to communicate and different languages – and you know, can she have this? Oh jungle yeah? Can she have this medication yeah? No, i can’t have that medication because i’m competing in a few hours and that’s a bad substance or that’s not, and you know that’s gon na make her drowsy or like so anyway.
Long story short um.
At some point you know i i just thought you know what i have to.
I have to go there and give it a shot.
Um, and you know, with boxing you can take a knee, you can stop in the corner.
Your coach can throw the towel in there’s a lot.
You can do if you need to get out of that situation um, but i knew that i would regret it for the rest of my life.
If i didn’t at least like step into the ring and give it all, i had left so um, the other thing that’s like when i was in the hospital bed.
I just kept remembering this thing that my sports psychologist used to say, and it was it’s not about what happens to you that counts.
It’S about how you react to what happens to you that matters and for some reason this just kept going on in my head, and i just thinking you know what yeah so i could be really mad right now.
I could be really disappointed.
I could like get frustrated and just quit, or i can kind of focus my energy where i’m gon na need it stay positive and just do everything i can in that moment.
So that’s what i i decided to do.
I just focused on one moment at a time even my coaches.
They had no idea if we were going to step into the ring till my foot actually touched the canvas but yeah.
I i i got in there not the way i wanted to, of course, but you know what it’s it’s still.
That’S that’s my olympic story and there’s nothing i can do about it.
It’S now motivated me to train for another four or now five years, um to try for another olympic games.
So, but you know what man dude, that is such an inspirational story for you to do what you did was so strong and so powerful and every girl should be looking at that, as you never give up watching you from that point of view, none of us Knew you were sick, like none of us knew like we all kind of thought like.
Oh, like her timing’s a little off like.
Oh, you know whatever, but you didn’t look sick yeah.
He thought, like maybe nerves or something not even we just thought like hey.
You know whatever yeah we found out what happened.
We were all just like.
Oh my god, i can’t believe, like you lost all these fluids, you were going through this traumatic experience of one of the biggest stages in your life.
Yeah, like honestly, everything that you pulled through that moment is a real highlight of what kind of strong champion you are, and everybody looks at you with a lot of pride.
You really show canadian pride.
You should be proud of yourself.
The olympic games, another amazing thing: you became a mom.
Yes, oh like what was that something that you like planned out like okay, we’re gon na just do it and you know it’s the time of life and stuff or how’d that go for you yeah.
I think um, you know: we’ve been wanting to have kids for for quite a while um, but obviously with the olympics.
You know being a female, it’s um a little bit different.
You have to plan the timing of that right, so um, you know after 2016.
I did take a little bit of a break.
I started just thinking about okay.
Well, what’s next for me um, you know i did start working a little bit and you know got married, so it was just the right time for everything and um yeah.
So it was definitely planned.
We wanted to um, have a baby and we had a little girl and kate olympia is her name little kate, yeah little k.
o, so yeah.
I know it’s.
It’S been really exciting.
It’S obviously had its own challenges.
I think you know trying to juggle now you know being a mom and being an elite.
Athlete is a whole different ball game, a whole different experience, i’m really lucky.
You know to have great support system around me, a great team to help me um.
I definitely wouldn’t be able to do it without without the people around me for sure, of course, and you have a lot of support, all of kitchener you’ve won, i think of the year for kitchener right, yeah yeah.
You won a lot of awards from kitchener.
I mean obviously [ Laughter, ] you’re, quite an icon, especially in the uh, the fight industry.
So you started your journey in 2004 and you went all the way to 2016 olympic games now we’re here for what we were hoping for.
2020, tokyo now we’re going into 2021.
This is a big time frame 2004.
All the way to this date.
Can you tell us, even from some personal examples of what the difference is that you’ve seen for women in boxing and the evolution of it throughout this time? Yeah, well, it’s definitely changed a lot.
I know when i first started um there like there was many many times where i would look around the gym and i was the only girl in the boxing gym um.
I do remember so waterloo boxing has like a big history with um.
You know in the sport of boxing and um.
You know there was donna mancuso.
She was um a canadian champion, probably one of the very first canadian champions when we had like a women’s team.
Um, so she was sort of around she was kind of just finishing her career um.
When i came in so she kind of took on a bit of a coaching role, so i actually had her as someone to look up to someone to um.
I remember her.
Taking me out doing some like sprint work and she would send me some workouts.
She gave me her first, like team, canada uniform – and i was just so proud to wear this uniform.
Oh yeah, it was really cool um and then there was another girl named rachel bird who i don’t i think she might have been.
She was definitely on a provincial team.
I don’t know if she ever was on a national team um, but she was, i think, going pro when i first started.
So those were the only two other girls i saw, but they were just like to me.
I would look at them.
They were just like tough chicks, um and they were they were.
It was just very inspiring for me like to watch them and i never got involved in the sport.
Thinking like i’m gon na go to the olympics or i’m even ever gon na compete.
It was really just for me, like learning a skill like being in the environment, getting fit like that’s what i liked about it.
I never actually wanted to get in the ring and get punched, so it took me right yeah.
It took me a little while to get comfortable with that, but i do remember watching this girl rachel and she was sparring with the boys, and i remember thinking like wow like she’s, and i do remember seeing her in tears in the in the change room and You know going going through all the emotions, but i do i do like remember thinking like wow.
That’S, like that’s really cool like i want to do that um.
So i think, like having a couple girls around um when i was first starting out kind of was like okay, i can see where i can go with this um, but then there was also moments where you know i remember being in the ring and a coach Just basically kicked me out of the ring for no reason: just stop yeah just stop.
Okay, you can go hit the bag, but you’re not you’re, not sparring.
I was like what and i knew well.
I knew it was that right, like there was just a weird like we never really had a conversation um until like a few years later, where he actually came and apologized and said: i’m sorry, i just you know i didn’t know how to coach girls.
I didn’t know how to talk to them, so i just instead, i just totally throughout yeah.
Does that happen now? Oh, i know.
Oh, my god yeah, and there was still there was still at that time.
Just a lot of gyms that just didn’t even have women’s boxing in their gyms right, so there was definitely i mean it depended on where you were um.
You know where you were in canada, where you were in the world um, but yeah.
It’S definitely changed a lot.
I do remember some of my first tournaments um, where they had like male end females, and so they would have two rings um and then the officials would get eliminated or get kind of.
As you get closer to the finals, you would have the best officials as well so as they have like bad decisions, they basically get kicked off and then they get thrown over to the women’s side um, which yeah i know, which is we get loafers the guys Who are weird and burnt out yeah, so it was basically like telling us like the decisions on that side of the you know, the tournament, don’t really matter just the girls, let’s just make sure we have the best ones for the guys.
So i do remember thinking like talking to my friends and teammates about it.
Just like, okay one day, we’re gon na laugh at this, because this is like absolutely ridiculous um, but you, i think, like there’s, definitely been so many changes in the last, like even in the last five years, right like with women’s boxing like for one, you know Getting into the olympics in 2012 was it was a huge step for us um we’ve now you know added two more weight classes.
It looks like there’s going to be one more added for the next olympics, the the number of women this time.
I think last time was 36.
This time is going to be a hundred um, so the number of girls competing um and then the next one will be the one that’s actually going to make it equal between male and female, but the quality is there right.
So there’s just, i think, there’s the need for us to have more weight classes, more girls competing as well so you’re, seeing more girls in the gym.
You know boxing’s being accepted more as like, even just in the fitness industry um.
So it’s great, i think, just having the right people the right role models, there’s a lot of really great female pros right now that have come out of the 2016 olympics, turned pro and really brought a spotlight over on that side, which obviously they get more um Television exposure so clarissa shields, yeah, katie, taylor, there’s so many so many great champions right now so yeah absolutely, and also too, i think, um.
I think it was the brampton cup that actually hosted an award for most females in a boxing team.
I think oh yeah yeah, so it’s great to see how now people are even encouraging the woman to like get in there throw some punches.
You know what you’re made of really bring it back to you.
Even when i started my father would always tell me, like you, mandy were one of the girls to watch, because you were the top in the country and a perfect example of somebody who really carries himself as a champion was yourself and there weren’t really a lot Of other girls to look at at that same caliber, and now you have literally whole teams of it.
It’S amazing they even have um the golden the golden girl cup.
I think the all-female cup in sweden yeah yeah yeah.
It’S really amazing, so yeah, that’s the biggest growth as well.
Sorry is like with the youth and the juniors, so you know when we were going to world championships, we would only have them for, like our senior level athletes and now there’s world championships.
For you know 13 or 14, 15, 15, 16, 17, 18 year olds, which is is what’s amazing and that’s really helping the quality of boxing.
So you know, if you’re not involved in the sport like a little bit younger, you’re kind of falling behind now so um.
You know the european countries are really really pushing with with these um younger girls, which is it’s pretty amazing, to watch it’s almost putting them at the same caliber as the boys, because it’s always with the boys that you have to start them young and then once They reach a certain age, like you said, then you’re falling behind yeah with the females.
It was kind of like okay, like if you start and when you’re 22, if that’s like, okay or like 25, like okay, and that said, they’re pushing them to be younger as well yeah.
This is amazing, so of course like in light of the pandemic, you know now that the olympic games have been pushed to 2021.
How has this affected you, like? Do you know your dates and like when you’re gon na go where what’s going on honestly, we know like nothing right now, um, which is too bad other than the fact that our qualifier, so it was supposed to be so everything got pushed a year so including Our qualifier um, so it was supposed to be in march.
It’S now going to be in may so they’re saying it’s still gon na happen.
It’S still, you know we don’t have like a country, we don’t even know where they’re gon na happen.
I have heard some rumors of possibly in the usa um so anyway we’re just waiting as of right.
Now we honestly, we just have to stay ready.
We have to do whatever we can to try to stay at that high level or high performance.
It’S going to be challenging and it’s i think it’s not it’s, not just canada right, like every country’s.
Has you know, regulations in place um.
You know lockdowns happening, complete closures happening um, so i think it’s really going to be about.
You know which athletes can stay.
Motivated which athletes can you know, stay sharp and try to be creative during this time to you know, have the best preparation possible yep.
Honestly, it’s it’s hard for everybody.
I feel for all you olympians.
You know four years leading up to these moments and then something like this goes on.
I’M really sorry about that, but i know that you’re training really hard still.
I know that you’re doing the best you can you’re definitely an icon for people to look up to and we’re all rooting for you, but i’ll be cheering for you when you go to the next olympics.
Do you have final motivating words for our audience? Um, no, i mean just thank you for having me.
This is awesome that you’re you know coming on yeah that you’re spreading the word for for women’s boxing.
I think um, that’s an awesome, awesome thing and yeah.
Thank you! So much can you put them up for me all right.
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