C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant

Although they finished 6th at the OUA, the McMaster badminton team is full of talent 

Every sport at McMaster University is unique in its own way. Each sport has a backstory to it and every team member is talented in their own way. Badminton is just another one of those unique sports that McMaster has to offer. With over 20 competitors on the squad, it has so much to offer in terms of talent and individualism. However, there is one player who has impressed last weekend during the Ontario University Athletics Championships in Waterloo.  

Talia Ng is a third-year student currently studying life sciences and is expected to graduate this year. Nonetheless, she has been extremely impressive during this season’s badminton campaign, racking up a handful of awards during the weekend. Her first award came through at the end of the OUA Championships, where she was awarded the OUA MVP and was given all-star recognition. Although extremely impressive, her success did not end there. Just a day later Ng was named as the Marauder of the week along with Alex Drover, a runner on the men’s track team, which concluded a very eventful week for the badminton team.  

“Last week was overall a mixed experience for me. I think that as a team we have done our best, but I can't say that I am extremely happy with the outcome. We came sixth out of eight teams, so it simply isn't that great. As for the team, I feel that we are much closer altogether compared to the previous years. They are a great set of people and many of us are very supportive of each other, which is something I feel is really important for us,” said Ng. 

Ng is the first female Marauder to receive an OUA Championships Most Valuable Player Award since 2003.  

“I am really honored to have received all these awards. They certainly do bring me confidence, even though I didn't really expect it. To be honest, I think that it is unfair in a way because my team has done so much as well last week. We worked as a group together and I think that our team overall deserves the same accolades as I do,” explained Ng.  

Transitioning from a university into the world of professional sports can be a challenge, but Ng is ready to take it on. She hopes to continue her athletics journey and pursue further heights in badminton beyond her time at McMaster.  

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there,” said Ng. 

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there."

Talia Ng, 2022 OUA Badminton MVP

While the Marauders didn't do exceptionally well last weekend, the enthusiasm and closeness within the team has shown that there is a bright future ahead for the team. Its members can look forward to taking on a new set of challenges in the upcoming year and working diligently to reach their goal.  

C/O Wikimedia

Jesse Lumsden: Not your average Marauder and Olympian

 

Many Olympic athletes train for years to get their form ready for the big event. The typical athlete would train for the sport they’re competing all their life before they start competing on the big stage. However, not all athletes go through their whole career practicing that one sport. Some are talented in other sports as well and go on to prove that on a global level.  

An example of such an athlete is Jesse Lumsden, a McMaster alum who pursued a career in both football and bobsledding.  

At Mac, Lumsden was a part of the football varsity team. Through his varsity career with the Marauders, the running back won a Hec Crington Trophy in 2004, which is the award for the most outstanding football player in Canadian U sports. Shortly after this massive success with the team, he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks in 2005.  

After one year in Seattle, Lumsden made a return to Canada. This time, he joined the Canadian Football League giants Hamilton Tigercats and played in the CFL until the end of his football career in 2011. A particularly notable award that Lumsden has won in his football career was the CFL East All Star achievement, which he received in 2007.  

Lumsden's first experience with bobsleighs was in the spring of 2009, when he was recruited to push-test for bobsleigh. Just a couple months after he was recruited, Lumsden made his debut on the big scene, winning a Europa Cup with his partner Pierre Lueders. Shortly after, in 2010 Lumsden made the Vancouver Olympics, where he and Leuders came fifth in both two- and four-man bobsleigh categories.  

When asked about how much McMaster has helped him start his career off, Lumsden credited the university for the motivation and support that the football team has provided him with.  

“Being a part of the McMaster varsity football team certainly had a massive effect on my career and I am grateful for it. The team at the time was really good, the coaches were very professional and overall, it was a fantastic feeling to be a part of such a squad,” said Lumsden.  

“Being a part of the McMaster varsity football team certainly had a massive effect on my career and I am grateful for it. The team at the time was really good, the coaches were very professional and overall, it was a fantastic feeling to be a part of such a squad."

Jesse Lumsden, former CFL Player

Although Lumsden had nothing but complements for the varsity team, he said that it wasn’t easy breaking into the team due to the big competition among the squad.  

“At that time, the Marauders had really good players all round. As a running back, it was challenging being the best in that position because they had amazing players in place such as Kojo Aidoo. Kojo was not only a great player but [also] a great person and so were the coaches that got me into the squad,” said Lumsden.  

On the subject of transitioning from football to bobsleighing, Lumsden told the story of how he went from being a running back at the varsity team to being at the Olympics for a completely different sport just a few years later.  

“While being a football player at McMaster, we consistently received recruiting letters from the Olympic team with regards to bobsleighing. I always thought that it would be pretty interesting to sign up for something like this, so I gave it a go after some time. I knew that at the time the Vancouver Olympics were coming up, so I tried my best to make it in time. I was really proud of myself when I heard that I made it and I think that my growth was genuinely accelerated a couple of months before the big event,” said Lumsden.  

“While being a football player at McMaster, we consistently received recruiting letters from the Olympic team with regards to bobsleighing. I always thought that it would be pretty interesting to sign up for something like this, so I gave it a go after some time. I knew that at the time the Vancouver Olympics were coming up, so I tried my best to make it in time. I was really proud of myself when I heard that I made it."

Jesse Lumsden, 2010 Olypmic bobsledder

When asked about the recent controversy surrounding Ontario University Athletics being labeled as an amateur league, Lumsden outlined that he was not happy about it.  

“It’s a complete joke. You know, we had so many Olympians over the past decade going through the OUA and it doesn't make any sense to have this label. If you told me years ago when I was at the peak of my career that I was amateur, I’d just laugh at you,” said Lumsden.  

Although many may expect athletes to stick to their initial sport throughout their career, Lumsden has proven to be an exceptional professional on all fronts and has defied those expectations. Not only has he won a best football player of the year award in U-sports, but he has also participated in the winter Olympics in a completely different sport. It is stories like this one that remind us of the abundance of talent found within the Mac community. 

C/O Sum_of_Marc/Flickr

Adam van Koeverden: A McMaster alumnus, Olympic gold-medalist and MP

Adam van Koeverden is Milton’s current member of Parliament and has been since 2019, but he had not always planned to go into politics. In 2007, van Koeverden graduated as valedictorian from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology all while balancing an athletic career as Canada’s most successful kayak paddler

During van Koeverden’s pre-teen life, he never would have considered himself an athlete. 

“I wasn’t a very good athlete growing up; I was pretty bad at most of the early-indicator sports. . . I ran cross-country, track and field, downhill skiing and snowboarding, stuff like that. I liked riding my bike, but I wasn’t really into the games that most young boys would identify themselves as athletes by doing,” explained van Koeverden.

When he was 13, things would begin to change, as he joined the local canoe club in Oakville, Ontario. For van Koeverden, kayaking started as a way for him to stay busy after school and get his exercise. However, it quickly became his connection to his local community and a value that has remained with him ever since. 

“When I went down to the canoe club, I found something new that nobody else did. I wanted to be the best at something and nobody else that I knew did kayaking. So on the first day, I was already the best kayaker I knew, which was novel. I stuck with it because it was exciting and different and I was up for the challenge,” said van Koeverden.

It was not until van Koeverden had been kayaking for a few years that he became interested in pursuing the sport competitively at a high level. He began racing competitively both in and out of Ontario, as well as nationally and internationally. 

In 2004, van Koeverden qualified for the first time for the Summer Olympic Games in Athens and acted as the flag bearer at the closing ceremonies in addition to achieving gold in the K-1 500 metre race. He continued to race in the next three Summer Olympics, ending his Olympic career with four Olympic and eight world championship medals

Despite not competing for McMaster’s varsity teams, he was still continuously supported by his peers, faculty and professors. 

“I made it pretty clear to a bunch of my professors that I had big goals and I needed their support in order to achieve them. Professors like Maureen MacDonald, [Stuart] Phillips and Martin Gibala and many, many others, [including] Digby Sale, were there for me [and stood up for me] when I needed a little bit of help. [Joanne] Smith [did] as well — she was an administrator within the department,” said van Koeverden. 

While he had plenty of support, van Koeverden stressed the importance of continuous learning. 

“You need to become sort of a student of your sport, like a student of your craft a little bit, if you want to be successful. And I think what that means is different for everybody, but you can’t rely solely on coaches and administrators and other people to figure out how to get better. You’ve got to figure that out for yourself,”

Adam Van Koeverden

Van Koeverden is no longer paddling competitively, but he continues to make splashes as Milton’s MP. He advocates for youth and seniors alike, promoting active living while working towards an equitable future. Turning to politics was not an easy decision and it stemmed from his hope to remain an active part of Team Canada. 

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“I landed on politics because I saw a gap, to be honest. I saw a lot of politicians working hard, developing great policies and I didn’t see enough, from my perspective, on the priorities of physical health, and preventative medicine and recreation and sport in Canada,” said van Koeverden.

Having just been re-elected in the most recent election, van Koeverden is excited to continue working as Milton’s voice in Ottawa. For students with diverse interests, a sense of ambition and high hopes for themselves, van Koeverden is surely a great role model and a source of inspiration! 

The success story of Ron Foxcroft and the way he changed sports forever

C/O Ted Brellisford

The year was 1984. Brazil and Uruguay were playing in a pre-Olympic basketball game in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics. With over 20,000 fans in the stands, referee Ron Foxcroft attempted to call a potentially game-changing foul down the stretch, but there was one problem. 

“The score was tied, nine seconds left on the clock,” recalls Foxcroft. “I emptied my lungs into my whistle to call a foul on Brazil. The pea in the whistle stuck. Nothing, not even a peep”.

In some versions of the story, this key moment occurred at the 1976 Summer Olympics gold medal game in Montreal. Regardless, it was through this experience, a new Hamiltonian success story was born.

At age 19, Foxcroft would referee his first game at McMaster University, entering the game as an emergency replacement after one of the original referees fell ill. After an impressive debut from Foxcroft, he would land a permanent job as a new referee

Over the years, Foxcroft made substantial progress in his career. He started as an Ontario University Athletics official, quickly moving onto bigger opportunities, including the Olympics and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He would officiate Michael Jordan’s first-ever college game with the University of North Carolina, facing off against the Yugoslavian national team.

He was involved in several significant games throughout his career, but none were of as much importance as that Olympic match, as a single failed whistle blow would change his life forever.

After missing an important foul call, Foxcroft became determined to find a better version of the whistle for referees who struggle with the same issues as he had experienced many times throughout his career. With the help of an Oakville design consultant and a Stoney Creek plastics moulding company, Foxcroft would create the Fox 40 whistle that is commonly found today. 

Upon building his team, Foxcroft went to work attempting to design the perfect whistle. The first was too big. The next wasn’t loud enough. Then it wasn’t consistent enough.

The problems went on and on, but he wasn’t prepared to back down from the challenge. After 14 prototypes, he would find the perfect design which would become the standard Fox 40 whistle. The pealess whistle was born. 

After its debut at the 1987 Pan-Am games, the new whistle became extremely popular across sports. By the end of his first game, over 20,000 orders had been placed.

Since, the whistle has become the standard for the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Football League, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League. It is also commonly found in international tournaments such as the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.

Since, the whistle has become the standard for the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Football League, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League.

Since the rapid growth and success of his company, Foxcroft has taken on numerous other successful endeavors. He remains the chairman and chief executive officer of Fox 40 and holds the same positions with Fluke Transport, a Hamilton-based transportation company.

In 2019, Foxcroft would be awarded the Order of Canada, likely the highest of his many achievements which include the 1997 Hamilton Citizen of the Year, 2011 Burlington Entrepreneur of the Year and an Honorary Doctor of Law from McMaster University.

Ron FoxCroft, aka "Mr. Hamilton," is a long-time supporter of @mcmastersports and chaired the campaign for #DBAC and Ron Joyce Stadium. He also invented the Fox 40 pea-less whistle. Today he is being invested into the #OrderOfCanada. pic.twitter.com/xMQwhB8sIs

— McMaster University (@McMasterU) September 5, 2019

Foxcroft is one of many success stories to have come out of Hamilton. He created a great product that had a lasting impact across sports and created a successful international company from his idea. The idea that began its course at McMaster University, where a 19-year-old Foxcroft would make his debut.

As Foxcroft said himself, “this all started because of McMaster University."

Mac women’s water polo team continue annual Motionball fundraiser during COVID-19

Graphic by Sybil Simpson, Production Editor

In 2020, the McMaster women’s water polo team helped raise over $33,000 in their annual motionball fundraiser to send athletes with intellectual disabilities to the Special Olympics. Now with the pandemic, they have continued their fundraising efforts in a more creative fashion.

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Motionball supports young people who have intellectual disabilities, including (but not limited to) autism, Asperger syndrome and Down syndrome. These athletes are working hard to raise funds and help these families succeed in sending their athletes to the Special Olympics.

“Normally motionball is a one-day event where people fundraise. Then we have the event, receive all the donations and we’re done. Now it’s a month-long and full of events,” said Samantha Campione, a student ambassador at the DeGroote School of Business who is involved with motionball.

“Normally Motionball is a one-day event where people fundraise. Then we have the event, receive all the donations and we’re done. Now it’s a month-long and full of events,” said Samantha Campione.

The bigger challenge for the event stems from the social distancing guidelines put in place during the pandemic. This means that donors and the athletes cannot meet face-to-face.

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“People can’t meet their special olympic athlete, which makes it a lot harder to bond with them and get to know the intricacies and wonderful qualities of the athlete . . . It’s definitely harder for fundraising and for event planning, but what I worry about the most with COVID is people not getting the full experience with the athlete,” said Campione.

It may be harder to raise funds this year between the limited fundraising opportunities, the financial crunch many have gone through resulting from the pandemic and the limited interaction between the donors and the athletes, yet there are other ways for people to help. 

“I have just been asking everybody if they can just share and spread the word. Even if you can’t donate, the more you get the word out about it is honestly the best. As much as fundraising really supports the event and the people who are a part of it, the awareness is one of the biggest parts of it as well. We just want people to know about it and the more people that do know about it, the more that we will reach other people and we’ll be able to get more people involved,” said Paige Hamilton, a second-year athlete on the women’s water polo team.

“I have just been asking everybody if they can just share and spread the word. Even if you can’t donate, the more you get the word out about it is honestly the best. As much as fundraising really supports the event and the people who are a part of it, the awareness is one of the biggest parts of it as well. We just want people to know about it and the more people that do know about it, the more that we will reach other people and we’ll be able to get more people involved,” said Paige Hamilton.

Whether or not the team reaches their fundraising goal of $27,000 this year, the team wants to make sure the message is heard and that those in their community are aware of what they are working towards. 

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The motionball events will take place through the month of March with weekly events throughout. Students who sign-up will still have the opportunity to meet with the athletes being supported in the planned events and games during the month. For additional information on Motionball McMaster, check the official website here.

Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

By: Graham West

On Feb. 23, Ben Zahra placed silver in the U Sports 76-kilogram wrestling championships, but for Zahra, silver isn’t quite where he wanted to be. Although his performance earned him his fourth Pita Pit Athlete of the Week, the third-year commerce student had aspirations of topping the podium in Calgary.

The second-place finish is the second time Zahra medaled at U Sports, winning bronze last year in a convincing bronze medal match. Even though the tournament just ended, the third-year wrestler is already looking forward to training hard to achieve his goal of finishing first.

“Next year I really want to win U Sport, it’s my big goal,” Zahra said. “I was hoping to do it this year, but I had a really tough competitor from Brock [University] so it didn’t really go as well as I wanted it to, but I’m still ok with a silver. It’s good progression because last year I came third.”

Injuries were something bothering Zahra on his way to capturing silver, making his journey to the podium at the national championships and improve his finish from last year that much more impressive. Battling through the mental and physical limitations of injury made his road to nationals even more difficult.

“This year it was a little different because I was struggling with injuries a little bit, I had a rib injury and a lower back injury that I was dealing with,” Zahra said. “Last year my body felt great, it was really healthy, but this year I had to adjust my practices accordingly because I couldn’t do a lot of stuff everyone else was doing.”

🤼 | RECAP

Ben Zahra bettered his 2018 showing by winning silver, while Connor Quinton claimed bronze at the @usportsca Wrestling Championships in Calgary. #GoMacGo https://t.co/mfaD1TuIHb

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) February 25, 2019

One of Zahra’s main motivations on the mat is performing well for his team. Even though wrestling is an individual sport, they place as a team based on their combined performances. This plays an important role for when they’re competing, as it increases their support for each other, always being there to cheer each other on and make each other better.

“There’s this team aspect to it where if you win, you contribute to your team's overall total points and then at the end of the tournament, there's a team title for men, women and overall,” Zahra explained. “So when you’re wrestling, it’s in the back of your head and you have a lot of your teammates cheering you on, so you almost do it for them more than yourself.”

“Ultimately, it is an individual sport and you’re wrestling for yourself,” Zahra added. “But it makes the wins that much sweeter when you do it for your team and you help contribute to your team’s score.”

Zahra has been a perennial Pita Pit Athlete of the Week for the Marauder’s after he claimed his fourth title on Feb. 25. Recognizing athletes who have had notable performances every week, Zahra has regularly been named to the spotlight despite being in a sport that does not always get a lot of attention.

“It’s nice to get a free pita out of it, but I don’t really wrestle for that,” Zahra said. “It’s nice to get recognition but it’s not why I do it. I love the sport, it’s something I’ve done my whole life and those little things are nice, but overall I try not to pay too much attention to them.”

Wrestler Ben Zahra and @macwbball guard Sarah Gates are the @PitaPitCanada @mcmasteru Athletes of the Week, after their efforts this past weekend. #GoMacGo

READ ⬇️https://t.co/kThE2cWtX3

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) February 25, 2019

Zahra knows he does not want his wrestling career to end with university athletics as the star wrestler has his sights set on the Olympics.

“[Club] Nationals this year are in Saskatoon. I’m competing up a weight class which should be good, I’m excited,” Zahra said. “It’s actually the qualifying year for the Olympics… so this year is what gets you on the seating platform for next year’s Olympic trials. It should be a really competitive nationals for us.”

Zahra has been one of McMaster’s best wrestlers during his time here and is well on the path to getting gold at next year’s championships. With possibly a trip to the Olympics in the near future, Zahra will be a name to watch in the Marauders community as he continues to dominate the mat.

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Boycott the Olympics, they said. Their stance on human rights is downright medieval, they said. Know what they didn’t tell you? How completely and utterly fruitless that effort was going to be.

Boycotts don’t work, they just don’t. Not on their own, anyways. You want to make a statement - that you do not support the kind of subhuman practices that the host country practices - and that is commendable, really it is. What needs to sink in, frankly, is you can’t make a statement by practicing a strict regimen of targeted apathy. You need to do more.

You don’t like a brand of coffee that pays slave wages to migrant workers? Spend your money on brands that don’t, buy fair trade. You don’t want to fund an oil goliath that laughs all the way to the bank as marine life trudges through petrol sludge? Invest in an alternative energy lifestyle, or even just use the gas station slightly further down the street. Your actions are what prompt reaction. Inaction only prompts your own personal satisfaction, and boy ain’t that worth a whole lot to the rest of us.

So why is it that when Russia’s gay-ablative attitude mars the greatest of games, the most vocal among us call for the masses to bury their head in the sand and wait for it to be over? I’m not proposing we turn the other cheek and let the Sochian scandals simmer in the back of our minds, but there is more that can be done. Done by you, me, and the rest of the tens of thousands of people lumped into “Boycott Sochi 2014” Facebook groups.

Call someone who is involved. Inform people in your circles who are uninformed. Educate yourself on every side of the issue, so you can take the steps towards actually making a difference, even if the difference is minute in the grand scale of things. It is called activism for a reason.

The Olympics will carry on regardless of whether you boycott them or not, as hard as you may find that to believe. As much as it is a venue for the toughest and more talented among us to strut their stuff, it also has the unintended effect of shining a ever-scrutinous light on the country it is held, and history has proven that as soon as the light is gone, people forget.

People forgot about the Greek controversy surrounding Athens’ impossible infrastructure costs and the people who were left in the 2004 games’ wake. People forgot about the human rights’ violations that made Beijing a hot topic only six years ago.

You know what you can do? You can remember. Remember that these problems are still problems long after the games are over, and keep shouting to anyone who will listen until the problems are fixed. People who are disadvantaged overseas do not magically get their rights back when we go back to our daily lives. Remember who they are.

And if you can’t do any of those things, then please stop giving a damn, because it reflects poorly on those who do.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, Alex Isotti-Pongetti, Operating Manager of MSU’s Underground will depart for Lake Placid, New York where he will train with the Canadian Olympic Skeleton team.

The 22-year-old Isotti-Pongetti, who graduated last year with a BA in geography, once competed for the Marauder’s football team as a tailback.

“I studied geography, but really I took football as a course as well. Football and geography were the only things I did in school. After four years I have a BA and am working full time at the Underground,” said Isotti-Pongetti.

His four years here did not go as smoothly as the high-school football start would have thought. After suffering an ACL injury that required surgery in 2008, Isotti-Pongetti’s football career was put on hold. It was a difficult pill to swallow for the life-long athlete who got his start playing soccer at a young age.

Isotti-Pongetti was able to recover from his injury to play one final season for the football team during the 2009 season - a recovery that was undoubtedly due to his competitive spirit. “I’ve always been competitive, I love trying to enhance myself to be the best in my field. Athletically, I find that the challenge of there always being someone better than you. You always have to compete and strive to push yourself more and more. Athletics is just something I have a passion for.”

Now, with his football career and university degree in the rear-view mirror, Isotti-Pongetti has set his sights on a different type of goal. Within the next few months, the former power-lifter will be training and competing to earn a spot on the Canadian national Skeleton or Bobsled team.

A life dedicated to sports and a career as a varsity athlete wearing the Maroon and Grey has prepared Isotti-Pongetti for the next step in his athletic career. “Right now my goal is to pursue a career in bobsled and skeleton, with skeleton being my first choice just because it is a sport I can train for myself and put my passion into it. I have always been a fast individual and that’s why I got scouted here at Mac,” said the Hamilton native.

Isotti-Pongetti is not the first person in his family to pursue international athletics. His grandfather, Livio Isotti, competed at the 1948 games as a cyclist winning several medals.

Alex is inspired by his grandfather ability to be “one of those athletes that never gave up.” His grandfather’s way of doing things is something that the Olympic hopeful has injected into his own life.

“Every individual in this world always has a goal to be the best possible. For me there is nothing better than to represent my country and possibly win a gold. At the same time, having Olympic blood from my grandfather I do want to represent my family as well. He has done it in the past and I want to make him proud. Sadly he has passed away but that’s what I strive for,” said Alex of his new goals.

In January, Isotti-Pongetti got his first chance to impress the national team coaches, doing positively in his first national-stage events. “I tested really well and they said I should look forward to moving on to the next stages, and I received an email a couple of weeks ago to attend training camp in Lake Placid. It will be a chance to get to know the sport, train with the athletes and get to know the coaches.”

In addition to carrying on the lineage of his family name, Alex also strives to join a group of McMaster alumni that has competed on an international level. Most notably former Marauders running back Jesse Lumsden, whose football career also fell victim to a knee injury.

“To be in that elite group of the few that can say they have done it is something that you can’t put a price on; it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and the feeling would overwhelm me,” said Isotti-Pongetti of the chance to join his fellow Mac alum.

Although Alex’s chances look good right now, he is not complacent about his opportunity. “It is a motivation; you can’t expect to have anything handed to you on a silver platter. In my life I have learned that whenever you are working there is always someone working twice as hard as you.”

 

 

Two-time gold medallist Catriona Le May Doan speaks about sports and faith at Mac

Brandon Meawasige

Speed skater Catriona Le May Doan is one of the most recognizable figures in Canadian sports. She is the only Canadian athlete, male or female, winter or summer, to defend a gold medal in two straight Olympic games, a feat that she accomplished between 1998 in Nagano and Salt Lake City in 2002. Le May Doan has also enjoyed a career after sports as a broadcaster for the CBC during their coverage of the Olympics and has been honoured as a national icon, receiving the Order of Canada for her numerous contributions.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Catriona visited the McMaster campus as part of an annual speakers series entitled “Love Every Inch,” hosted by the McMaster Christian Reformed Campus Ministry.

“She is a very real person, she has worked very hard at her profession and we are excited to learn about it,” said organizer Michael Fallon, a Christian Reform minister at McMaster Chaplaincy Office.

“We wanted to hear about the challenges, and we also wanted to hear about the joys and the triumphs of being an athlete of her calibre. She spoke very truthfully, it was very encouraging and very inspiring,” he continued.

The purpose of Le May Doan’s appearance was to speak about the intersection of faith and sports.

“No one is perfect and my faith helped me figure that out. I spent so much time trying to have the perfect race, and that isn’t possible,” said the three-time Olympic medalist. One of the things that made Le May Doan’s speech so inspiring is how she spoke about imperfection.

“She’s not perfect, none of us are. She spoke about her failures. What she did, whether she won a gold medal or no medal at all, was the same in the eyes of her faith and that is a large part of the message,” said Fallon.

The evening’s event was held in CIBC Hall and afterwards, Le May Doan gave a general address to McMaster students in Gilmour Hall.

Her underlying message of “I can do all things,” which also served as her opening remark, tied together the idea of how faith can help athletes in their careers.

By Udoka Gabriella Okafor

While watching the Olympics, I was quite interested in the multitude of events. Seeing the likes of Usain Bolt and other athletes racing the track was very impressive. From their colours to their audacity, they represented their nations proudly. Yet while these athletes are certainly the superstars of their nations, they are, I am afraid, only a dimmed glimmer when compared to the Paralympics.

At first, I shared in the general skepticism about the Paralympics. Uneducated on the matter, I thought it was just another way for society to project their ‘equal yet different’ idea. I mean, why else would Olympics and Paralympics be entirely disjointed events if not to prove this statement?

But after watching a singular Paralympic event, I was as surprised as anyone could ever be. Certainly, they were different. They lacked the gallivanting personalities, the bravado which has made some athletes notorious. Yet they did not lack the confidence. Despite their different disabilities, they were more than ready to show their aptitude.

People with one arms or no arms at all swimming, blind people running, people in wheel chairs playing basketball. The magnificence was a limitless continuum. They were super-humans. Not because of their disabilities, but instead because those very same disabilities did not define their limits. They, and only they, did.

Experiencing the Paralympics truly gave me a better understanding of the term “winning.” Many of the athletes and the audience alike did not care that their teams came first, second, or third. The honor was in beating the odds. It was in participation. All and all, it was found in being able to proudly say, “I crossed that finish line, I did not give up.”

This was my most memorable summer. Spending it in London and going to North Greenwich where the Paralympics was being held cultivated a novel appreciation for the world and the people in it. While I did not have tickets to go to the events, it didn’t matter exactly. I could hear the screams of the audience and the heavy breathing of the athletes. I saw the smiles on the face of those people who where about to enter the field, those who left it, and those who would come again.

To the freshmen and everyone at McMaster, just remember that these athletes were able to beat the odds not because they were super-humans but because they worked as hard as they could. Try to remember that the next time a midterm is around the corner.

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