When the Olympic Summer Games get underway in Rio there will be some Team Canada athletes who will remember that their journey to the ultimate multisport Games began right here at home in British Columbia. 37 of Team Canada’s athletes have competed at the BC Games or were part of Team BC at the Canada Games. These competitive opportunities serve as an important part of the athlete development pathway and inspire athletes to pursue their sport to the highest levels.
24 athletes on the 2016 Olympic Team are BC Games alumni having previously competed at the BC Winter or BC Summer Games.
• Kirsten Sweetland (Victoria) was a gold medalist in triathlon at the 2002 BC Summer Games and will compete in her first Olympic triathlon event after narrowly missing the last two Olympics.
• Also at the 2002 BC Summer Games was beach volleyball athlete, Jamie Broder (Victoria), who will hit Copacabana beach with her partner Kristina Valjas of Ontario.
• Georgia Simmerling (West Vancouver) is set to make history as the first person to compete in a different sport at each of three Olympic Games. She competed in alpine skiing at the 2002 BC Winter Games before going on to race at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Switching to ski cross, she competed at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and now is part of the track cycling team for 2016.
• Nikola Girke (West Vancouver) is another long-standing Olympian taking part in her fourth Olympics in sailing. She got her taste for multisport Games way back at the 1993 BC Summer Games.
24 athletes on the 2016 Olympic Team have competed for Team BC at the Canada Games or Western Canada Summer Games.
• Three-time Olympian, Ryan Cochrane (Victoria) who competed at the 2005 Canada Summer Games will go for the elusive gold medal in Olympic swimming after winning bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012.
• Two-time Olympian Liz Gleadle (Vancouver) competed at the 2009 Canada Summer Games and is in medal contention for women’s javelin.
• Shallon Olsen (Vancouver) was one of the youngest members of Team BC at the 2011 Canada Winter Games and joined Team BC again at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. Now at 16 years old, she is the youngest member of Team Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games and will compete in gymnastics with fellow 2011 Team BC alumnae Brittany Rogers (Coquitlam).
• Three members of the women’s eight in rowing competing in Rio were also members of Team BC at the 2009 Canada Summer Games, Lisa Roman (Langley), Lauren Wilkinson (North Vancouver) and Antje von Seydlitz (Smithers). Patricia Obee (Victoria) also competed for Team BC at the 2009 Canada Summer Games and will join up with 2001 Canada Games alumnae Lindsay Jennerich (Victoria) in the lightweight women’s double sculls.
BC Games and Team BC are part of the multisport Games pathway where athletes have the opportunity to compete against the best in their province and country. 11 athletes on the Olympic team have competed at both the BC Games and for Team BC at the Canada Games including:
• Jessica Smith, Athletics - 2004 BC Summer Games and 2009 Canada Summer Games
• Mike Mason, Athletics – 2000 BC Summer Games and 2005 Canada Summer Games
• Emily Overholt, Swimming - 2010 BC Summer Games and 2013 Canada Summer Games
• Hilary Caldwell, Swimming – 2006 BC Summer Games and 2009 Canada Summer Games
• Fred Winters, Volleyball – 1998 BC Summer Games and 2001 Canada Summer Games
See the full list of BC Games alumni here.
See the full list of Team BC alumni here.
PHOTO: Shallon Olsen competing for Team BC at the 2015 Canada Winter Games
Credit: Kevin Bogetti-Smith