Queen's at the Olympic Games
Commerce student Jeff Batchelor is participating at the Olympic Games as a member of the Canadian Olympic Snowboard team. He secured his spot with a silver medal performance at a World Cup snowboarding event in Stoneham, Quebec in January. It was his second straight podium finish at Stoneham, after winning gold there in 2009.
Mr. Batchelor, who is on an approved one-year leave of absence from Queen’s, has turned in two top-five finishes in Olympic qualifiers, which earned him priority selection for the Canadian Olympic Snowboard team. His journey on the Olympic qualifying circuit can be seen on the popular MTV/CTV reality show “Over the Bolts” where he is a featured fan favourite. The 21-year-old student is said to be a strong contender for a medal in Vancouver.
A number of Queen’s employees are also on their way to Vancouver to share their expertise at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Among them is Senior Anatomy Technician Rick Hunt, who will be judging the speed skating competition as a corner marshal official.
“It’s been a lifelong dream just to go to an Olympic Games,” says Mr. Hunt, a long-time member of the Kingston Striders Speed Skating Club and an active coach and referee. “Through Speed Skating Canada, I have had the opportunity to referee at the national and international level, but I never dreamed I’d have the chance to officiate at the Olympics.”
As a corner judge for the long track speed skating, Mr. Hunt’s job will be to serve as the chief referee’s extra set of eyes during the competition.“It’s similar to being a linesman in the NHL,” he says. “We watch for any inconsistencies in racing and positioning on the ice, making sure there are no infractions of the rules and no interference between skaters.”
While Mr. Hunt is busy at the Olympic Oval, QUASR Finance Lead Gail Atwill will bring her project management and people skills to bear as a transportation coordinator – known as Load Zone Attendant – at Whistler, assisting Olympic athletes and coaches with transportation from the athletes’ village to their sport venues. Once that job is done, she’ll put on her skis and join the Alpine Steward Crew for the Paralympic Alpine races.
“My passion is skiing and I share my passion every weekend as a ski instructor at Calabogie Peaks. I’ve always been an advocate of the Olympic philosophy of using sport as a means of educating,” says Ms Atwill, who will spend a total of five weeks in Whistler. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. The Olympics brings people from different countries around the world together in peace to compete for common goals. I’m so proud to be Canadian and to be hosting the Games in Vancouver and Whistler.”
Athletic & Recreation Home Events Coordinator Kelly Smith will also be on the ground in Vancouver. “It’s a pretty amazing opportunity,” says Ms Smith, who is working as an event services manager at the men’s hockey training facility. “I’m excited to learn more about high-performance athletics events and to bring that knowledge back with me to Queen’s.”
In addition to those Queen’s employees who will be there to keep things running smoothly, three members of the Emergency Medicine Department – Professor Michael O’Connor and Assistant Professors Andrew Reed and David Messenger – will be there as members of the emergency trauma centre at Whistler.
While not everyone can go to the Games, faculty, staff and students can catch all of the action at the Olympic Lounge in the Athletics & Recreation Centre, from Feb. 12-28. Visit www.gogaelsgo.com for full details and viewing times.