The 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics are fast approaching and a number of athletes, coaches and staff with University of Victoria connections are set to take part.
The Olympic Games run August 5 – 21 while the Paralympic Games take place September 7 – 18. Updates on UVic connections during the events can be found here and all the action can be watched live at the Rio Ready Fan Zone at Bear Mountain Resort.
Nineteen individuals will represent Canada and UVic in Brazil, fifteen as athletes and four as staff members. Sixteen of those 19 have competed, coached or contributed to a Vikes varsity program while the others are members of the greater university community.
Two more UVic connections, Chris Hindmarch-Watson and Ulf Schuetze, will travel to Brazil as English Language Swimming Announcer and Triathlon Technical Official, respectively. Hindmarch-Watson swam with the Vikes before switching to announcing while Schuetz is a Professor of Second Language Acquisition at UVic.
Brenden Bissett is the only current Vike on an Olympic roster, as the fifth-year men’s field hockey player will join former Vikes Keegan Pereira and Matthew Sarmento on the Canadian squad. After the team was officially announced, Bissett and the team completed a four-game sweep of the U.S. as part of the Summer Games Send-off.
Hilary Stellingwerff won 1,500-metre bronze at the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials on July 10 to qualify. Stellingwerff, who also ran at the 2012 Olympics, is an assistant coach with the varsity cross country and track and field program.
Janet McLachlan, a former basketball player with the Vikes, is set for her third Paralympic Games. The 2011 Wheelchair Basketball Canada Female Athlete of the Year will be looking for her first Paralympic medal in Rio.
Meghan Montgomery is also headed to the Paralympics as part of the Canadian LTA4+ boat. Montgomery has already attended a pair of Paralympic Games, helping her boats to a sixth-place finish in Beijing and a seventh-place finish in London.
Kai Langerfeld, Nicolas Pratt, Lindsay Jennerich and Antje von Seydlitz will also represent the Vikes rowing program in Rio. Langerfeld will compete in the men’s four while Pratt will suit up for the lightweight men’s four. Jennerich and partner Patricia Obee, who joined up for gold in the lightweight women’s double gold at the World Cup II this summer, will be looking for the same in Rio while von Seydlitz will be a key part of the women’s eight.
Former Vikes rowing coach Al Morrow will serve as Director of the Lightweight Men’s program while alumnus Adam Parfitt will once again take up the role of team manager.
UVic’s swimming team will also see four alumni travel to Rio. Two-time Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane will serve as co-captain of the Canadian team and will be joined by fellow alumnus Hilary Caldwell, Stephanie Horner and Richard Weinberger. Weinberger won bronze in the 10-kilometre open water marathon at the London Olympics.
Fresh off of being inducted to the Basketball BC Hall of Fame as part of the 1981-82 Vikettes basketball team, Shawnee Harle will head to Rio as the lead assistant with the Canadian Women’s Basketball Team. She was a member of two CIS national championship teams with UVic and is the first and only coach in Canada to earn their NCCP Level 5 coaching distinction.
Two-time World Champion Catharine Pendrel and her coach Dan Proulx, who met in UVic’s triathlon club, will be back as part of the Canadian Mountain Bike Team in Rio. Pendrel studied at UVic and went on to win gold at the 2007 Pan Am Games before finishing fourth at the Beijing Olympics.