Like most of us, when the Olympics are broadcasted every two years, we stop what we’re doing and focus on the 16-day span of the Olympic Games.
Surely we all stand proud as we support athletes representing our country and bask in their glory as their hard work pays off and they bring home Olympic medals to show the world. But that sense of gratitude is shining brighter than usual this year as some current and former Brock Badgers are representing our country at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.
Brock University members who headed off to the Olympic Games this year were:
- Michelle Fazzari and Jasmine Mian: Brock alumni, women’s wrestling
- Jillian Gallays: Brock Wrestling Club member, women’s wrestling
- Jessica Lewis: Fifth-year Brock student, track racing in Paralympics representing Bermuda
- Eric Woelfl and Tim Schrijver: Brock alumni, men’s rowing
- Marty Calder: Assistant coach of Canadian women’s wrestling team
- Terry Paul: Brock alumnus, coach, Canadian men’s quad rowing team
Prior to the games, a send-away party was held for all of the Brock participants heading to the Olympic Games which meant a lot to many of the athletes and coaches.
“I’m so grateful for all the support Brock has been giving me,” explained Fazzari to Brock News. “We are a really tight-knit group. It’s such a talented, supportive group of people from the coaching staff to the athletes. We are such a family and that cohesion really shows through our performance. We support each other.”
Fazzari, who has been a Top 10 wrestler in Canada since 2012, had her moment to shine on August 19 as she competed in the 58-kilogram division, in which she wrestled hard for the past 11 years to get to the Olympic Games.
The 29-year-old Hamilton native said she definitely has her eye on a medal.
“I haven’t worked this hard to just go there. I want to be on that podium,” she said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
But despite the possible outcome, Fazzari explained to Brock News that she plans on leaving the games with her head held high.
“This has been way more of an emotional journey than I ever dreamed of.”
During a round of 16, Fazzari competed against Turkish competitor Elif Jale Yeilırmak, in which Fazzari fell short of a score of 3-1, making her ineligible for a medal. Teammate Jasmine Mian also lost in the round of 16 to a score of 4-1 against Sun Yanan of China in the 48-kilogram weight class.
Another Brock Alumnus and Olympic Athlete competing in Rio 2016 is Eric Woelfl, who found himself at the 2011 Pan Am Games as a member of the lightweight four that finished fifth and then making his senior world championship debut a year later in the lightweight pair. Recently racing with the lightweight four, Woelfl and crew cracked the top-10 in two World Cup events in 2014. In 2015, he and the lightweight four, dubbed the “northern lights,” won gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, where the rowing events took place in his hometown of St. Catharines, giving him an amazing experience. They secured their Olympic berth for Rio 2016 with their eleventh place finish at the world championships.
Unfortunately Woelfl and his team were unable to qualify for a medal, as they placed fourteenth in the standings with a time of 6:19.44 and 6:05.35 in the repêchage. Schrijver and his teammates, who competed in the coxless four rowing, came even closer to the taste of victory as they fell just short in the finals, placing sixth with a time of 6:15.93.
As we watched and supported our Canadian athletes representing our country, we stood tall and proud as they all competed as hard as they could. We couldn’t be more proud and happy for all of our Olympic athletes around Canada and within the Brock community whether they came home with or without a medal. We now look forward to supporting our Canadian Paralympic athletes such as Jessica Lewis as she competes in track racing during the Paralympic Games which begin September 7, 2016.