In what was Team Canada’s best ever showing at a non-boycotted Olympic Summer Games, athletes who previously competed at the BC Games or for Team BC at the Canada Games played a key role. Of the 24 medals won by Canadian athletes at this summer’s Games, 6 (or 25%) were won by BC Games and Team BC alumni, or teams with BC Games or Team BC alumni. In total, 11 of the 51 athletes who had their athletic careers kickstarted by a first multi-sport games experience while growing up in BC came home with hardware – the women’s eight rowing crew and softball team captured gold and bronze, respectively, with 3 alumnae on each roster.
The 11 BC Games and Team BC alumni medallists at Tokyo 2020 are:
- Jerome Blake – bronze (4x100m relay) – Team BC (2017 Canada Summer Games)
- Evan Dunfee – bronze (50km race walk) – BC Games (2004 BC Summer Games)
- Emma Entzminger – bronze (softball) – BC Games (2008 and 2010 BC Summer Games) and Team BC (2013 and 2017 Canada Summer Games)
- Julia Grosso – gold (soccer) – BC Games (2012 BC Summer Games) and Team BC (2017 Canada Summer Games)
- Sara Groenewegen – bronze (softball) – BC Games (2008 BC Summer Games)
- Hillary Janssens – bronze (rowing - women’s pair) – Team BC (2013 Canada Summer Games)
- Danielle Lawrie – bronze (softball) – Team BC (2005 Canada Summer Games)
- Madison Mailey – gold (rowing - women’s eight) – BC Games (2012 BC Summer Games)
- Lisa Roman – gold (rowing - women’s eight) – Team BC (2009 Canada Summer Games)
- Jenn Salling – bronze (softball) – Team BC (2005 Canada Summer Games)
- Avalon Wasteneys – gold (rowing - women’s eight) – BC Games (2012 BC Winter Games) and Team BC (2017 Canada Summer Games)
Beyond the alumni who reached the podium, there were many more performances that captivated and inspired all who watched from home. Stories of determination and perseverance, career comebacks and storybook send-offs, last minute surges and nail-biting finishes, national records, personal bests, and budding young talent unfolded as each day of competition transpired. These stories made the Tokyo Games truly captivating and the late nights and early morning wakeups worthwhile, as they offered a glimpse into the life, mind, and journey to the world’s stage of those we proudly claim as our own.
Amongst the most memorable performances of the Games are:
- Brent Hayden (1998 BC Summer Games / 2001 Canada Summer Games) and Markus Thormeyer (2013 Canada Summer Games) – Following an 8-year retirement from swimming, Hayden’s Olympic return saw him team up with Thormeyer and two other talented young-swimmers on the 4x100m free relay. Under Hayden’s veteran leadership, the team surprised the field and narrowly missed out on the podium, finishing in fourth place while setting a Canadian record.
- Malindi Elmore (1994 BC Summer Games) – With a time of 2:30:59 and a ninth-place finish, Elmore achieved the best-ever placing for a Canadian in the women’s marathon.
- Camryn Rogers (2014 BC Summer Games) – Rogers’ fifth-place finish is Canada’s best-ever women’s hammer throw performance at the Olympic Games. Rogers had an impressive showing in Tokyo, needing only one throw to qualify for the final.
- George Ellenwood (2010 BC Summer Games) – Tokyo’s extreme heat caused Ellenwood severe nausea, fatigue, and dizziness throughout the women’s heptathlon competition. Ellenwood withstood the challenging conditions and propelled herself across the finish line with sheer grit, setting a personal best of 1.83m in the high jump along the way.
- Georgia Simmerling (2002 BC Winter Games) and Jay Lamoureux (2017 Canada Summer Games) – Simmerling and the women’s team pursuit track cycling team set a Canadian record in their heat against France before finishing fourth overall. Similarly on the men’s side, Lamoreaux and company set a Canadian record of their own on their way to fifth. Simmerling made her second appearance in track cycling at Tokyo 2020 (after Rio 2016), having previously competed in alpine skiing at Vancouver 2010 and ski cross at Sochi 2014.
The BC Games Society, along with Team BC, is proud to play an important role in the sport pathway to the highest levels of competition for athletes, coaches, and officials. The Society contributes to the province’s fabric, through the people and communities the Games touch, while exposing the nation’s future stars to a competition model much like those in the highest echelons of sport.
See the full list of Team BC alumni and Tokyo 2020 results here.
See the full list of BC Games alumni and Tokyo 2020 results here.