How Crushing Defeat Developed Olympian’s Faith

Adam Froese sat in the locker room during halftime, covered in sweat. His hands were shaking, but he was full of confidence. This was it. This was the moment he’d been waiting for. Canada was bound to win. Going to Olympics was in the bag!

Driven by Desire

Since he was a child, Adam Froese (’14) was driven by a desire to get to the Olympics. Originally from Australia (but a Canadian on his dad’s side), Froese moved to Canada at seventeen when he was scouted for Canada’s national field hockey team.

Froese was excited to be a part of the team, and trained hard every day with the Olympics in the forefront of his mind. But in order to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Canada would have to defeat Argentina in the Pan American Games. This was not an easy feat.

Canada went into the game as underdogs, but by the half, they were up 1-0.

“I distinctly remember sitting in our change room thinking ‘This is actually going to happen. We’re going to qualify for the Olympics!’” says Froese. “Then we walked out onto the field. In the first five minutes, we gave up two goals.”

Froese was devastated when the final siren signaled the end of the game. They played hard, but it wasn’t enough. The final score read 3-1 for Argentina. He dropped to the ground and let the weight of it all wash over him.

“I’m not a very emotional person, but I remember being quite emotional there,” recalls Froese. “The Olympics only comes around every four years. Our chance had come and gone.”

Growing Pains

Though extremely painful, Froese says this loss was actually significant for his faith.

“I had always leaned so much on my own abilities,” says Froese. “I realized how weak I was, and how my identity had been wrapped up in trying to be an Olympian.”

Froese says that even though he believed in God, there were points in his life where he wasn’t really living it out. This defeat turned out to be the wake-up call he needed.

Four Years Later

Froese and his teammates worked hard to improve their skills, and four years after their crushing defeat, they were faced with similar situation. In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games, they would need to defeat New Zealand in the quarterfinals of the FIH World League Semifinals.

At the time, Canada was ranked 14th.

“New Zealand was ranked 5th or 6th,” says Froese. “Everyone knew they had this in the bag.”

But Team Canada came prepared. Their coach had anticipated this might happen and made sure they played against New Zealand in several test matches two years earlier. They had not yet won a match against them, but with each defeat, they learned a little more.

The Game of Their Lives

When it was time for the qualifying game, Froese went in excited but nervous.

It was a tense game, with many close calls. But by the end of the match, the score remained 0-0, forcing them into a shootout.

After five of five shots from each group, they were still tied. It was time for sudden death.

No one expected this. Tensions were high as player after player tried to get a goal. The shootout lasted over half an hour, and was filled with one near-miss and heart-stopping save after another.

They went 18 rounds of sudden death. Froese knew it could go either way.

The first two shots Froese took, he was beyond nervous. “I didn’t think I’d be able to make it,” he recalls. “But then this calmness came over me. I was like, ‘At the end of the day, it’s just a game. I’m just so fortunate to be here in this position.’”

This was his mindset when he ran onto the field for the third time and scored the winning goal.

A World of Emotion

Froese can hardly describe the emotion he felt after watching the ball go in and seeing all his teammates run toward him with so much excitement.

“These are the childhood dreams of eighteen grown men,” says Froese. “We were going to the Olympics! This is what we’ve always wanted.”

But for Froese, this moment was about more than just achieving a childhood dream.

“It was so special because my faith had changed in those four years,” says Froese. Where before he relied on his own strength, this time, he was able to look up and thank God for empowering him to be in this position.

The Days That Followed

Over the next two years, Froese has scored the game winning goal in three more shootouts. He went to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, and is pushing for Tokyo 2020. There’s no question that he’s had an impressive athletic career and achieved what many long for. But through it all, Froese maintains that he couldn’t have done any of it without God’s help.

By placing his identity in God alone, Froese has been able to accomplish incredible things.

With a TWU business education behind him, Froese has parlayed his sporting capabilities with a career at Deloitte, working in their mergers and acquisition advisory practice. As a senior associate at the firm, Froese’s responsibilities involve advising mid-size private companies with capital raising, acquisition, and sell-side divestiture work.