A Viking invasion is preparing to head to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games Aug. 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro.
Sixteen of the 19 local athletes making the trip have competed, coached or contributed to a University of Victoria Vikes varsity program. The other three are members of the greater university community.
Clint Hamilton, director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation, said UVic has a proud history of contributing to Olympic success at many levels.
“We are extremely proud of this tradition,” he said. “We understand the commitment needed to represent one’s country on this international stage and wish all in the Canadian contingent every success in Rio.”
Two-time Olympic medalist swimmer Ryan Cochrane, who will serve as co-captain of the Canadian team, will be joined by UVic alumni Hilary Caldwell, Stephanie Horner and Richard Weinberger. Weinberger won an Olympic bronze medal in the 10-kilometre open water marathon in London in 2012.
Current Vike Brenden Bissett will team up with former Vikes Keegan Pereira and Matthew Sarmento on the men’s field hockey team, which completed a four-game sweep of the U.S. squad recently.
Former Vikes basketball player Janet McLachlan, the 2011 wheelchair Basketball Canada Female Athlete of the Year, will compete in her third Paralympic Games.
Meghan Montgomery, a veteran of two Paralympic Games where she earned a sixth-place finish in Beijing and finished seventh in London, will compete as part of the LTA4+ boat team.
Kai Langerfeld, Nicolas Pratt, Lindsay Jennerich and Antje von Seydlitz will represent the Vikes rowing program in Rio. Former Vikes rowing coach Al Morrow will serve as director of the men’s lightweight program, and UVic alumnus Adam Parfitt will handle duties as team manager.
Hillary Stellingwerff, who also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, earned a bronze in the 1,500 metre race at the Canadian Olympic trials in July to qualify for this year’s Olympics. She is an assistant coach with the varsity cross country and track and field programs.
On the heels of her induction into the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame as a member of the 1981-82 Vikettes basketball team, Shawnee Harle will head to Rio as lead assistant with the women’s basketball team. Harley was a member of two Canadian championship teams and the only Canadian coach to earn a level 5 National Coaching Certification Program certificate.
Two-time world champion Catharine Pendrel and her coach Dan Proulx, who met at UVic, will be part of the Canadian mountain bike team. Pendrel won gold at the 2007 Pan Am Games and finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics.
UVic swimmer Chris Hindmarch-Watson will travel to Brazil to work as an English language swimming announcer, while Ulf Schutze, a professor of second language acquisition at UVic, will serve as a technical advisor for the triathlon team.