Els Mol does not believe in sitting around. Now 82, Mol, who makes her home in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast, has been an active athlete and volunteer with the BC 55+ Seniors Games for more than 10 years.
This year, Els intends to bring a team of Sunshine Coast dragon boat competitors to the games. Watch out Kelowna!
With a smile on her face and a serious tone in her voice, Els is the well-loved coach for the Sunshine Coast’s Porpoise Paddlers dragon boat team.
She’s also been competing and winning swimming medals in the 55+ BC Games every year since 2008.
And, to fill in a few more extra hours, make that dozens, she is also volunteer registrar for the 55+ BC Games each year.
Born in the Netherlands in1936 to a father who was an orthopedic surgeon and a mother who taught physical education, Mol says she has been active for as long as she remembers.
A champion competitive rower when she was younger, Els went on to coach UBC Womens rowing in Vancouver.
She was also pretty proficient herself at skiing, field hockey, bowling, curling and golf.
Meanwhile, as a single mother to daughter Louise, she always had a day job. After emigrating to Canada in 1960, she worked for CIBC and then the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in various administration roles spanning 30 years.
“Single parent life is full of obstacles, especially in the 1960’s I had a tough time getting a mortgage. But I still think of it as ‘a charmed life’, always a challenge. Thinking back always smiling and the sun shines, good friends, lovely family. I am blessed,” says Els, now proud grandmother to Walter, age 11.
And as a coach since 2016 for a recreational team, Els says, “it took some time to learn to change from coaching a competitive team. Although most of these paddlers are a little older, I have found that today’s older group are a lot fitter than those 20 years or so ago. They also expect tough workouts and enjoy challenges.”
Her athletes agree. Says Porpoise Paddler team member Dena Nicholby, “Els works us hard, and we love every moment of it!”