NCPR has made a point of highlighting Olympic athletes from this listening area, with lots of extra reporting/photography from Brian Mann, Chris Knight and Nancie Battaglia. It’s a nice touch. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit lax about doing the same for athletes with ties to what we’ll call NCPR territory on the Canadian side of the border.
Belatedly then, here’s an attempted round-up, in no particular order.
Thanks to this from CBC, I can tell you that Ottawa’s Cody Sorenson is the brakeman on Canada’s 4-man bobsled. (His father, Ole, wrestled at Munich in 1972.) Alymer Quebec’s Caroline Calvé took part in snowboarding events. West of Ottawa, the town of Almonte has proudly supported Olympic efforts by their home-town cross-country ski standout Perianne Jones, in Vancouver and Sochi. (If it plays in the U.S., here’s video of her quarter final heat in Sochi.) Want more? Jones has a blog about her athletic journey too. Ivanie Blondin and Vincent de Haitre are long track speed skaters from Ottawa and Cumberland, respectively.
He’s not on the Canadian team, but Ottawa’s Paul Bonifacio Parkinson holds dual citizenship and represented Italy in men’s figure skating at Sochi. Interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen, Bonifacio Parkinson said the experience was “more than I expected everything to be”.
Wasn’t that a game in women’s ice hockey on Thursday?! Wow, it really could have gone either way! From the roster on the Team Canada website, here’s to: goaltender Geneviève Lacasse, and forward Jayna Hefford, both from Kingston. I’m not sure they can hear NCPR in Montréal, but we’ll claim defense player Catherine Ward and forward Caroline Ouellette too. Many of those players are on college teams connected to our region as well, including Cornell and McGill.
Over on the men’s Olympic Ice Hockey roster, players with area ties include: Roberto Luongo and Marc-Édouard Vlasic, from Montréal; and Mike Smith from Kingston, plus several players with the New York Rangers, The New York Islanders and the Montréal Canadiens. (Medals for that event had yet to be decided as this post was prepared on Friday, but Canada did prevail over the USA to advance to the gold medal match with Sweden.)
Canada’s women’s curling team had an outstanding Olympics, going undefeated across the whole qualifying rounds before winning gold over Sweden. That team consisted of: Jennifer Jones, Kirsten Wall, Jill Officer, Kaitlyn Lawes and Ottawa’s own Dawn McEwen. CBC Radio’s All in A Day had this interview with McEwen’s husband, Mike McEwen, shortly after that victory.
I know curling is a funny “what’s that?” sport to many, but it’s very popular in Canada, as explained in this “history of” entry from Olympic.ca:
Curling was brought to Canada in 1760 by a division of the Scottish Highlanders who reshaped cannon balls and curled on the Saint-Charles River in Quebec City. When the Scottish settlers moved west, they took the sport with them and curling rinks became the main social focus of many prairie towns in Canada. There are now 50 member associations of the World Curling Federation, but Canada still accounts for more than 90 per cent of the world’s curlers.
Straying afield from the local-athlete connection, it’s worth adding that Canada took gold in men’s curling on Friday, for the third Olympics in a row.
It’s also difficult to sift through all the Canadians on the 2014 Paralympians to know which town each is from, but here’s a link with more general information on that team.
Taking this topic beyond Sochi, here’s a chart of Ottawa-born Olympic athletes. The list includes participants in summer and winter games, such as Barbara Ann Scott (1928-2012) gold medalist in women’s figure skating in 1948, Jennifer Botterill who won a silver and three golds in women’s ice hockey across 4 Olympic games, Chris Therien won a silver in men’s ice hockey in 1994, and Dan Boyle with gold in ice hockey at Vancouver.
It’s hard (crazy?) to try list every Olympian – and all winter Olympic medalists across time – from “our” part of Canada. If you can think of omissions, please feel free to add more names and stories in the comment section.
Congratulations to all the athletes, coaches, trainers, families and supporters who helped make those Olympic dreams a reality.