Canadian Olympic trampolinists Karen Cockburn and Mathieu Turgeon bounced into each other's lives when they were tweens training at Skyriders Trampoline Place in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
After years of friendship, the elite athletes were officially dating by the time their first Olympic Games rolled around in 2000. Karen and Mathieu, the only two trampolinists in Canada to qualify for those games, both left Sydney with bronze medals.
Mathieu has since retired from competition (but he still coaches) and Karen's career reached new heights when she won a silver medal in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games. She is a medal hopeful again this summer in London.
2 sat down with these high-flying marrieds to dish on puppy love, kiteboarding and baby plans.
On How They Met:
KAREN SAYS… We met at trampoline class when we were really young. I was 11 and Mat was 12. We were friends and training partners for years until I was about 19 or 20 when we started dating.
MATHIEU SAYS… As the only Canadian trampoliners to qualify for the 2000 Olympics, we spent even more time together and that quickly developed into a relationship.
On Their First Date:
KAREN SAYS… We never had an official first date. I knew that Mat had a crush on me when we were teenagers, and I remember hiding in the bathroom because I didn't want to dance with him at a banquet after National championships.
MATHIEU SAYS… She thought I was a dork!
KAREN SAYS… [laughing] Yeah, I guess I thought he was a bit of a dork! But we were training so much together and things started happening that you wouldn't do with a friend. Once we were driving somewhere and he reached over and grabbed my hand and I thought, friends don't really do that. It just kind of evolved from there.
On Competing In The Same Sport:
KAREN SAYS… We always kept our relationship out of the gym. Inside the gym, we acted like teammates. And when we weren't training, we tried not to talk about trampolining too much because we wanted a life beyond the sport. Mat's been retired since 2006, but he's supportive and understands when I'm busy training.
MATHIEU SAYS… She's always bouncing new ideas and routines off me.
KAREN SAYS… Our experience as training partners has helped our marriage. We spent so much time together that when we got married and moved in, it wasn't a huge shock. It was an easy transition.
On What They Love About Summer:
KAREN SAYS… We love having friends over for barbecues and boating at the cottage. We're both very active and love being outdoors.
On Staying Fit Together:
KAREN SAYS… Mat needs danger to feel alive. His new adrenaline rush is kiteboarding and he's desperately trying to get me hooked on it, too.
MATHIEU SAYS… We've got a transition plan for Karen when she's done trampolining!
On Their Post-Olympic Plans:
MATHIEU SAYS… Kiteboarding trip!
KAREN SAYS… I don't know if I'll officially retire, but I can't see myself doing another Olympic cycle because it's so grueling on the body. We'll have lots of adventures and we're going to try to start a family.
On What They Love About Each Other:
MATHIEU SAYS… I love how Karen is so focused on her goals. She's a very thoughtful and sweet person as well. She'll bake someone cookies on their birthday and do a lot of nice little things.
KAREN SAYS… His excitement and joy for life. Living with him is an adventure. He's a bundle of energy. He's also a really nice guy!
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