Taken from the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Student Athlete Stories. Read the original here.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, physiotherapists formed the largest professional group working at the Games. Behind all of those gold-medal and record-breaking performances was a different team working to keep athletes at their best. Varsity Blues figure skater Emma Jianopoulos is getting ready to make the switch to the other side.
“As an athlete, physiotherapy has been a huge part of my athletic journey,” said the now four-time OUA academic achievement award winner. “I have experienced first-hand the incredible things physiotherapists do in terms of helping people overcome challenges and achieve their fullest potential.”
The Belleville, Ont., native developed a keen interest through the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s placement program in her third year of undergraduate studies.
“Physiotherapy combines my passion for exercise, health and working with people, all while using highly specialized skills,” she said. “All of these together were huge factors in my decision to pursue physiotherapy.”
Jianopoulos, center, receives her gold medal in the gold solo dance at the 2020 OUA championship | Hung Le
As an athlete, Jianopoulos knows what it takes to win and hopes to help others do what she has achieved. At the time of her undergraduate graduation, she was a two-time OUA all-star, four-time OUA champion and received U of T’s prestigious Silver T award, given to graduating athletes who have displayed outstanding athletic performance.
“I hope to be able to inspire patients to achieve their greatest potential,” said Jianopoulos. “Whether that be for work, sport, life or anything in between. A cool thing about physio is that there are so many different areas of practice, which I am super excited to explore throughout the program.”
Jianopoulos performing a muscle strength test during foot/ankle week | Photo by @uoftpt_students
Jianopoulos just began her two-year studies at U of T’s Department of Physical Therapy this fall.
“My favourite thing about the physical therapy program is the clinical component,” she explained. “I have really enjoyed combing logical reasoning with clinical skills and evidence when working through patient cases.”
Jianopoulos at the 2020 OUA championship | by Christian Bender
Despite the demanding curriculum of the physical therapy program, Jianopoulos, who began her figure skating career at the age of four, is excited to be back with the Blues for another two seasons.
“I definitely believe that being a varsity athlete has helped me balance my academic demands,” she said. “Being a student-athlete has provided me with valuable time management skills, strategies for performing under pressure and the drive to achieve my highest potential. Not to mention that it keeps me physically active, involved in something that I love and with a great social group, all of which I believe to be invaluable to academic success.”