Two years after the Vancouver Winter Games, Vancouver is back at the Olympics.
Nearly 20 athletes who live, train and study in this metropolitan are representing Canada at the 2012 London Summer Games among a total national team of 277 athletes. The spectacle begins Friday with the Opening Ceremony, airing at 1 p.m. Pacific time. (CTV, TSN and Sportsnet will broadcast a live feed and preview show beginning at 11 a.m.) The Closing Ceremony is Aug. 12.
Expert number-crunchers, including the Canadian Press and an American economist, predict Canada will win between 17 and 22 medals. The bulk will come in swimming and canoe events. No gold is assured, not in any event to any nation. The excitement and emotion of the Games lies in the ambition, dedication, and remarkable talents of each athlete. Here, a list of Vancouver competitors at the London Summer Games. All times are Pacific.
Toby Ng – Mixed Doubles Badminton
As half of the lowest-ranked international mixed doubles team at the Games, Ng is using his underdog status to his advantage. “I hope to come in without any pressure or expectations,” he told the Courier.
Ng, 26, is a Vancouver College graduate who put his UBC kinesiology degree on hold to prepare for the Olympics. He trains with Richmond’s ClearOne badminton club and in London is partnered with 22-year-old Calgarian Grace Gao.
The Canadian’s opening group stage match against Poland is 12:15 p.m. Saturday, July 28.
Liz Gleadle – Javelin, Athletics
The Canadian woman’s record holder in javelin broke her own record at the Harry Jerome Track Classic earlier this summer. The Kitsilano grad moved to Lethbridge, Alta. more than a year ago to prepare for London at the national training centre, where she transformed her body shape and musculature under the guidance of her coach.
Gleadle competes in the qualification round at 2 a.m. Aug. 7. She must meet the required distance in one of three attempts to advance to the final round 1 p.m. Aug. 9.
Curtis Moss – Javelin, Athletics
In Grade 10 Moss connected with Burnaby sports legend Don Steen when he tried out for his school tack team. After graduation, he flitted around university athletic programs at SFU, UBC and Southeastern Louisiana. (He was a high school quarterback and played defensive back for the Thunderbirds.) After all that, nearly two years ago he reconnected with Steen, who coached his own son to the 1998 Olympics in decathlon.
“Getting back with Don, I really feel like it was the best for me athletically, but also mentally,” Moss, 25, told the Burnaby Now. “Now it’s time to focus on my goals and set my sights a little higher.”
The men’s javelin qualification round begins 11 a.m. Aug. 8 with the final set for 11:20 a.m. Aug. 11.
Mike Mason – High Jump, Athletics
The 25-year-old UBC high jumper returns to the Games after a 19th place finish four years ago at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The qualifying round begins 11 a.m. Aug. 5 and the finals are set for 11 a.m. Aug. 7.
Inaki Gomez – 20 km Race Walk, Athletics
Mexican-born Gomez doffed swimming for long-distance endurance walking and never looked back. After the London Games, the Vancouver College and UBC graduate begins law school at the University of Calgary.
The 20 km race walk begins Aug. 4 at 11 a.m.
Denise Ramsden – Road and Time Trial, Cycling
Ramsden, 21, is a resident of Yellowknife, NWT, and studies biology at UBC. The London Games are the first Olympics for Ramsden, who turned pro in 2011 but just recently made a strong mark on the Canadian cycling scene when she won the U-23 national championships in the road race and time trial events.
She competes in the same two cycling events for Canada. The women’s road race begins 4 a.m. July 29 with all cyclists starting at once in a first-past-the-post competition.
In the individual time trial, beginning 4:30 a.m. Aug. 1, athletes start at 90-second intervals and the racer to complete the course in the fastest time is the winner.
Anthony Jacobs – Men’s Four, Rowing
A junior world champion and University of Washington varsity rower, this 23-year-old Vancouver College graduate will compete for Canada in the men’s four at England’s prestigious Eton Dorney Rowing Club, located west of London in a 400-acre nature conservation park.
The Canadians race against New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Serbia in the first heat Saturday, July 30 at 2:40 a.m.
Nikola Girke – RS:X Windsurfing, Sailing
Two-time Olympian Nikola Girke makes her third appearance at the Summer Games and London will be the second time she competes as a windsurfer in the RS:X, an event that will not return to Olympic competition in Rio 2016 since it was introduced at the 2008 Games. In Beijing, Girke finished 17th.
The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club athlete finished in the top 10 at the 2011 world championship in Cadiz, Spain to qualify for the 2012 Summer Games. She is a five-time Canadian women's windsurf winner.
Girke begins competition July 31. Fleet races continue Aug. 1 through Aug. 5 and the medal races are set for Aug. 7.
Zac Plavsic – RS:X Windsurfing, Sailing
Windsurfer Plavsic, 29, also sails out of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club returns to the Games after a 23rd place finish in Beijing. He finished second at the 2011 World Cup in Holland in 2011.
The men’s event runs July 31 though Aug. 6 with the medal races set for 5 a.m. Aug. 8.
Hunter Lowden – 49er Class, Sailing
A 29-year-old competitor who trains out of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Lowden will race in the 49er class with 34-year-old Toronto sailing partner Gordon Cook. The duo qualified for the London 2012 during the World Championships Croatia this May.
In fleet racing, each finisher is awarded points over a series of races. Points are tallied to determine the finalists. Heats begin July 30 and continue to Aug. 6 with the final set for Aug. 8.
Women’s Soccer (Football)
Seven national team players compete for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, including Chelsea Stewart, Carmelina Moscato, Brittany Timko, Desiree Scott, Sophie Schmidt, Kaylyn Kyle and Melanie Booth.
The football competition began two days before the Opening Ceremony because of the length of the tournament. The Canadians play in Group F with Sweden, Japan and South Africa. They lost 2-1 to the Japanese and play the South Africans Saturday, July 28 at 6:45 a.m.
Scott Dickens – 100m, 200m Breaststroke, Swimming
Dickens missed the 2008 Summer Games after competing at the Sydney Olympics in 2004. The setback bolstered his resolve.
“I'm not going to shoot for anything other than the best and I'm not afraid to say it," Dickens told the Courier in June.
The 100m breaststroke qualifying heats begin Saturday, July 28 just before 2 a.m. He races in Lane 2. The 16 fastest swimmers advance to the medal heat July 29.
Dickens competes in the 200m breaststroke on July 31 with the medal race set for Aug. 1.
Brent Hayden – 100m Freestyle, Swimming
The Canadian sprinter is favoured to win gold in this event. Hayden, originally from Mission, trains at UBC.
Heats begin at 2 a.m. on July 31. Hayden races in Lane 5 against a stacked crowd in the final heat of the qualification round. The final is scheduled for Aug. 1 at 2:15 p.m.
Tommy Gossland - 4x100m relay, Swimming
Gossland secured the fourth spot on the men’s four-by-100m freestyle relay at the national championships in Montreal earlier this summer. The relay, one of the most exciting events of the Olympics, begins July 29 just before 2 a.m.
Savannah King – 400m, 800m freestyle, Swimming
London marks the second Olympic competition for King, a Canadian national and university record breaker who trains at the aquatic centre at UBC.
The 400m event begins 3:20 a.m. July 29 with King in Lane 7 of the fourth heat. The finals begin later the same day at 2:15 p.m.
The 800m semi-finals are set for 2:20 a.m. Aug. 2 with King racing in the fifth heat, Lane 1. The final begins the next day at 11:45 a.m.
Heather MacLean – 4x100m freestyle relay, Swimming
MacLean joins her sister Brittany at the 2012 London Games. She trains at UBC and competes in the women’s four-by-100m freestyle relay Aug. 3 at 3:35 a.m.
Martha McCabe – 200m breaststroke, Swimming
A bronze medallist at the 2011 world championships, McCabe trains at UBC and competes in the 200m breaststroke Aug. 1 just before 3 a.m. She races in Lane 6 of the fourth heat.
Tera Van Beilen – 100m, 200m breaststroke, Swimming
Van Beilen, who trains at UBC, races in both women’s breaststroke events. In the 200m race, she is in Lane 5 of the third heat; the semi-finals follow Aug. 1 and the finals Aug. 2.
In the 100m race, Van Beilen races in the fifth heat in Lane 2. The heats begin July 29 at 2:40 a.m., followed by the semi-finals in the afternoon and the finals on July 30.
Vasek Pospisil – Singles and Doubles Tennis
At the All England Club in Wimbledon, Vernon-born, Kitsilano-raised Pospisil plays men’s singles and partners with Daniel Nestor for men’s doubles.
He meets fourth-ranked David Ferrer of Spain in the first round.
In men’s doubles, Pospisil and Nestor play a Romanian pair in the first round.