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Michelle Sawatzky-Koop

Canadian Olympic Women's Volleyball Team

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Michelle Sawatzky-Koop: Canadian Olympic Women's Volleyball Team

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Michelle grew up in Steinbach, Manitoba where she attended the Steinbach Regional Secondary School and graduated in 1988. She led her volleyball team to the 1987 “AA”Provincial Championship. The starting setter on the 1989 Canada Summer Games Bronze Medalist Team, she was recruited to play with the University of Manitoba Lady Bisons from 1988 to 1993. At the University of Manitoba she was the starting setter as they won the National Championship in 1990, ’91 and ’92. Throughout her University career she garnered many personal awards – she was named CIAU Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, she was named the University of Manitoba Female Athlete of the year.

Internationally, Michelle was a member of the Junior National team in 1990 and also of two World Student Games teams in 1991 and 1992. May of 1993 marked the start of Michelle’s career as a member of the Senior National Team. In 1995, she was part of the bronze medal finish at the Pan American Games in Argentina. March of 1996 the team qualified for the Olympic Games and in July of that same year, the team finished 9th at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Volleyball is not the only facet of Michelle’s life. Music is certainly the other side of things. Michelle began to study music at the age of 4 and studied piano and voice for many year. She graduated from the University of Manitoba School of Music in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music Piano Performance. In 1992 and 1993, she participated in the National Music Competition and also in 1993, completed a 12-concert solo piano tour of Western Canada. As a member of the National Youth Choir in 1992 and 1993, she performed throughout Canada and at the World Symposium of Choirs.

Since the Olympics, Michelle has been a motivational speaker and has shared her story across Canada. Hers is a story of overcoming obstacles and persevering “no matter what” to reach her dream.   Michelle relate's her inspiring story of growing up in Canada and against the odds achieving her dream of making it to the Olympics on the Canadian National Team. She was constantly being underestimated by coaches and team members because her relatively short stature as a volleyball player. But her love of the game and her determination to practice,train,and work hard toward her dream allowed her to navigate the obstacles and opportunities she faced.   Michelle’s accomplishments speak of the heart of a true champion.
Motivation - Be the Best You Can Be
My Story - How I Got There
Having a Dream and Finding a Way to Get There
Make the Most of your Competition
Competition - Good or Bad?
Maintaining Motivation - There are More Mountains to Climb
Success - What is it and How Do We Reach It?
Pride in Your Community - How Important It Is
What Inspired Me on My Road to the Olympics
Volunteering - How Important It Is
“I would like to recommend Michelle as an outstanding public and motivational speaker. I have seen her presentation twice now and I personally feel after seeing many speakers in my career as athletics director and coach that Michelle's talents are amazing.”
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

“Michelle Koop gave one of the most inspiring speeches I have heard.  Her message of never give up on your dreams was great. I think that many people dream big and sometimes they think they can not do it. When someone like Michelle speaks about how people told her she could not achieve her dream, then tells how she did it gives confidence to all those who dream big.”
Investors Group
Rogers AT&T National Sales Conference
Dental Association of Manitoba
Manitoba Agriculture
School Trustees of Manitoba Manitoba
Manitoba Association of Broadcasters
Western Canadian Association of Broadcasters