Three Queen’s students Olympics bound
July 19, 2021
The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games are on track to begin on July 23, and the Queen's community has extra reason to cheer on three Canadian athletes. Queen’s students Gavin Stone, Erica Wiebe, and Benjamin Preisner are representing Canada with their sights set on the podium.
Erica Wiebe, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, is back at her second Games to compete for her title. Athletics runner Benjamin Preisner will be racing in the marathon, and Gavin Stone will be competing in the men’s 4x rowing event.
Stone is a fourth-year engineering student and former Queen’s University rower, who has been preparing in Japan since the beginning of the month.
“I think the best part of my Olympic journey has been the people I've gotten to meet along the way. I've been lucky to have some really amazing people as my teammates and they are now some of the closest friends I have,” says Stone. “Excitement is probably the main thing I feel right now. In a couple weeks we'll have the chance to race for gold on the biggest stage in the world and I've thought of that moment so many times. Although it's not going to be the normal environment of the Olympic Games with getting to watch other events and meet athletes from Canada or around the world, I'm still hoping that I get to make some connections outside of my sport and feel the bond of being on the Canadian team.”
Stone will be competing in the men’s 4x, a rowing event with a four-person boat and double oar, along with Will Crothers, Jakub Buczek and Luke Gadsdon. The rowing events kick off in the first week of the Games, with some heats starting on July 23.
Stone brings with him a long list of rowing accomplishments, including representing Canada at the Under-23 World Championships in 2017 and 2018. He competed with the Queen’s University Gaels rowing team for three seasons, was recognized with Queen’s 2018-2019 Outstanding Performance of the Year award and won gold at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in 2018.
“On the athletic side I couldn't thank the Queen's coaches I've been lucky enough to train under more,” shares Stone. “They helped set me on the path and come up with a plan that helped launch me to success in the Canadian university level but also onto U23 national teams and paved the way to help make the push towards the Olympics.”
Reigning champion wrestler, Erica Wiebe, is back to compete in her second Olympics. Wiebe made her Olympic debut in 2016 and took home a gold medal in the women’s freestyle 75kg weight class.
She qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in March 2020 – weeks before the Games were postponed for a year. With the Games on hold, Wiebe took the opportunity to start her Executive MBA Americas program earlier than anticipated. The 17-month Executive MBA Americas program is a partnership between Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business and Cornell University’s SC Johnson Graduate School of Management. The program has been virtual because of the pandemic, allowing Wiebe to study from her home in Calgary while also training for the Tokyo Olympics. Weibe will be competing in the Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling 76kg weight class event, which starts on Aug. 1.
Another Smith School of Business student preparing for the Games is Benjamin Preisner. He will be running in the Olympic marathon event, and then starting in the Master of Management Artificial Intelligence program at Queen’s University this fall.
From Milton, Ont., Preisner has a background in the 3,000-metres steeplechase and cross country running. He previously represented Canada at the World Cross Country Championships and IAAF World Junior Championships. Preisner made his half marathon debut in Vancouver in 2019, and his marathon debut in December 2020 – earning a ninth-place finish under the Olympic standard time. A year and a half later, he was named to the Canadian Olympic team. The men’s marathon event will take place on Aug. 8.
“The Olympics are an incredible time for us all to come together to celebrate excellence,” says Wanda Costen, Dean, Smith School of Business. “We are so very proud of all the Queen’s athletes heading to Tokyo to represent Canada, and wish them much success!”
Alumni qualify for Summer Olympics
A total of five Queen’s alumni will also be competing at these Olympics.
Julie-Anne Staehli, Haley Smith, Ali ten Hove, William Jones, and Tom Ramshaw have all booked their tickets to Tokyo.
Staehli will compete in the women’s 5,000 metres event while Smith was named to Canada’s cycling team and will participate in the women's mountain biking cross-country event. Ten Hove (49er FX), Jones (49er), and Ramshaw (Finn) will be competing in sailing events.