Word on the street I'm writing this in the wee hours of Monday morning, having spent most of Sunday, after my arrival in London, rambling around soaking up the Olympic spirit in the streets of the host city. A stroll along the embankment with historic London in the background, then a quick pass-by Canada House, and a visit to a Canadian expat landmark in London, The Maple Leaf Bar (yes, there's poutine on the menu) revealed two things about Londoners: they're welcoming, and they're curious - particularly about athletes from other countries. [caption id="attachment_12515" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Olympic rings add a colourful touch to historic London"] [/caption]
•••One of the athletes people seem curious about is Canadian boxer Mary Spencer. As many of you know, women's boxing is making its Olympic debut this year and, unlike such athletes as Simon Whitfield and Clara Hughes, women boxers haven't been on the radar for some Olympic-watchers -- until now. It's changing in part due to people like Mary Spencer. ( I'm particularly excited because later today I get to watch the three-time world champion from Ontario fight in the 78-kilogram class.) Mary drew a bye on Sunday which means she must win just one bout to garner at least a bronze medal. There's been a lot of pressure on her. [caption id="attachment_12509" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Mary Spencer gives her everything (Photo: Courtesy of P&G)"] [/caption] Even from her official Team Canada bio, I get the sense there's a lot riding on Mary's performance even in the lead-up to these Summer Games. According to Mary, who's Ojibway, originally from Cape Croker, Ontario: "We don’t get to see many Aboriginal athletes compete at the Olympics. It’s a huge sense of pride for the Aboriginal community in Canada.” I've also heard Mary described as very quiet and that she's an introvert - which makes me respect her all the more for putting herself out there. She's been singled out by The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity’s Most Influential Women list. And not only is she the ambassador for CoverGirl, but she's also a huge supporter of the P&G Thank You Mom campaign, which is shining the spotlight this Olympics on all of the moms around the world who work miracles to get their children to the Olympics. (In fact, there are scores of Olympic moms staying in my hotel.) If you want to get a sense of the woman who will be entering the ring later today, check out this video "Give Her Everything", which chronicles Mary Spencer's fight for a place on Team Canada, a place she so obviously deserves. [HTML1] Please Tweet your support directly to Mary: @canadianboxer. This girl deserves all our support.