Not many athletes can say they attended their first Canada Games as a baby. For Henrik Moberg-Parker, that’s exactly what happened at the 2001 Games in London, Ontario. His mother, Tine, was coaching and managing the BC sailing team when she gave birth to Henrik – just six weeks before those Games. She received a “baby” category accreditation card and brought him to London. His father took care of him while Tine performed her official duties with the team.
“I walked with him in my arms in the Opening Ceremony,” remembers Tine. And she joked that he was a “good prop” for pin trading and collecting.
With such an early start in the sport, it’s no surprise that Henrik is now going to the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg as a member of Team BC.
“He wasn’t that enthusiastic about sailing, but being stuck with mom as a coach and also having to role model and volunteer, he now sails seven days a week and loves it, absolutely loves it,” said Tine. “And of course, he has incredible skills.”
Henrik can’t recall the exact time he started to sail. “I fell into boats and no one saw me,” he quipped. “And now I spend more time at the dock than I do at home.”
When Henrik was four years old, Tine started the Learn to Sail – Wet Feet
program, aimed at young children who want to learn about sailing and water safety. “As he grew up, I refined the program. It developed as he learned.”
Henrik has now fully embraced the sport. “Whenever I’m on the water, it’s always so much fun being out there. It’s so open, you feel the breeze. It’s really freedom, because you have everything in your control. Whatever you do, the boat will react to it.”
Tine competed for Canada at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and her brother Peer, won a sailing bronze medal for Norway at those Games, so it appears sailing is in Henrik’s DNA. “If everyone keeps saying it, then it’s going to be true,” he said.
In advance of his first national multisport event, Henrik is taking everything in stride. “We try to keep it fun because you have to have an on-water and off-water balance, because otherwise, you’re too stressed out with results and all that other stuff. We go out every day to have fun.”
Henrik will be in Winnipeg without his mother. “As the executive director for BC Sailing, it’s good for me to see that there’s growth for other coaches and an opportunity for Henrik to go somewhere without mom,” she said. But of course, she will be fully connected and checking for constant updates.
The 2017 Canada Games sailing
competition takes place July 30 to August 4 at the Gimli Yacht Club.