“The most devastating moment of my life.” is how Jason Dorland used to describe his Olympic final failure in rowing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. Now, Jason describes that moment as a “gift”—the catalyst to his most powerful and profoundly transformative life experience ever. In-it-to-win-it, Jason was all about results—never stopping to appreciate or even notice the incredible journey that he was a part of. He defined himself by those results—a winner if having won, and a loser if having lost. However, the definition of “Olympic loser” proved too much for Jason and he struggled for years to not only find a new personal identity, but also purpose in his life after rowing.
Jason chronicles that experience and more in his critically acclaimed memoir—CHARIOTS AND HORSES: life lessons from an Olympic rower. This inspiring page-turner openly reveals his tumultuous journey in the hopes of cultivating a healthier outlook not only for athletes, but anyone who strives for greater purpose within their own lives.
During his 10 years of coaching high school rowing, Jason’s crews won 12 International Championship events, set a Canadian course record time and won back-to-back events with the same four athletes—a feat never before achieved at a National Championship. All of this the byproduct of a team-culture built around compassion, empathy and love—for self, for one another, and for their competitors. Jason’s competitive strategy, a paradox to be sure, was to convince his athletes that winning is a limiting goal—and rather to win is the byproduct of striving for personal and team excellence. The environment Jason fostered provided emotional safety for his athletes—from that safety, his athletes felt free to fail but also, ultimately, achieved success on levels they had never dreamt possible.
Jason’s storytelling strikes a note of integrity and honesty rarely seen. His story, a compelling and very personal journey, coupled with his witty self-deprecating humor fully engages his audience and leaves them with life-changing messages that resonate for years. Never lecturing, Jason simply challenges us to rethink our traditional perspectives on high performance in business, sport, and life and asks us to explore how we can achieve personal success more effectively and with greater fulfillment and joy.
He is a graduate of The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, taught high school for 15-years and is the co-founder of Left Coast Naturals—an organic and natural food manufacturer and distributor.
Jason, his wife Robyn Meagher (two-time Olympic runner), and their family live in Victoria, British Columbia where he is currently promoting his recent book—Pulling Together: A Coach’s Journey to Uncover the Mindset of True Potential, and coaching high-performance athletes, artists and executives.