The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are officially underway in Rio de Janerio, putting Brazil at the centre of the sport universe for the next two weeks.
Of the 314 athletes on Team Canada, 142 of them have a connection to B.C., living and training here, and 68 claim a B.C. hometown. In Brazil, they’ll compete in 18 sports, with the majority taking part in athletics, rowing and swimming events.
Here are seven Surrey/White Rock athletes to root for in Rio:
On the field
Sukhi Panesar is a member of the Canadian men’s field hockey team. The 22-year-old Newton resident earned a silver at the Pan American games in Toronto last year. It’s the midfielder’s first Olympics.
According to the Canadian Sport Institute, men’s field hockey is up Saturday, Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. (PDT).
At 16, Shallon Olsen is Team Canada’s youngest female member. The Fraser Heights Secondary alum is competing in women’s artistic gymnastics. The qualification round is on Sunday, Aug. 7. She went to Fraser Heights Secondary.
In the pool
Hillary Caldwell is a former White Rock resident now living in Victoria. It’s her second Olympics. She also competed in London 2012. She’ll compete for Canada in the 200-m backstroke. The first heats are on Thursday, Aug. 11.
With the publicity surrounding the quality of waterways in Rio, all eyes are sure to be on Richard Weinberger, who’s shooting for gold in the 10-km marathon open water swim.
Olympic bronze medalist (London 2012) Weinberger, 26, grew up in South Surrey.
He competes Aug. 16. (8 a.m., ET). He told Black Press he’s not worried about the health concerns about Rio’s polluted waterways, and remains focused on his sport entering the spotlight.
“It’s going to be a great race – one of the best (events) of the Olympics.”
Surrey’s Christabel Nettey, a Johnston Heights grad, will be competing in long jump. The qualifying round is Aug. 16, and the finals are the next evening.
Distance runner and Elgin Park Secondary grad Luc Bruchet, 26, will be competing in the men’s 5,000-m race on Aug. 17 (round 1). Canadian Mohammed Ahmed is also entered in the race.
Canadian athletes won 18 medals at the London 2012 Olympics: one gold (2016 opening ceremony flag bearer Rosie MacLennan, trampoline), five silver and 12 bronze.
– With files, Black Press
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