The Olympics ended on August 21, and while Canada fell in love with Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse, a number of current and former members of the SFU community achieved great things at the Rio Olympics. Here are some of the notable highlights.
Bronze for Glaesser
The 24-year-old computing science student, Jasmin Glaesser, won bronze in women’s team cycling. It’s her second bronze medal, after winning one at the 2012 Olympics in London in the same event. “I’m proud to have won another bronze here in Rio, four years after stepping on the podium in London,” Glaesser told SFU News. “Our medal four years ago came as a surprise but this time around it represents four years of hard work, dedication, and commitment.” Glaesser is also the daughter of Uwe Glaesser, a professor in the computing science department at SFU.
Nayo and the women’s basketball team
SFU had a representative on one of the Olympics’ biggest stages, with Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe on the Canadian women’s Olympic basketball team. During her time at SFU, Raincock-Ekunwe was a standout on the women’s basketball team: she was named GNAC Player of the Year in 2013, and averaged 16.8 points and 12.4 rebounds. Despite a heartbreaking loss to France in the quarterfinals, she had a pretty good tournament. She averaged 7.7 points and six rebounds per game, and 22.5 minutes of action per game. Her tournament-high was 10 points against France, but her biggest moment came against Serbia in group play. With less than a minute to go, she converted a crucial three-point play, giving Canada an important win.
Helen Maroulis: America’s golden girl
Arguably the biggest highlight from an SFU perspective was Helen Maroulis’ Olympic experience. Maroulis became the very first American to win gold in women’s wrestling, winning in the 53kg division. What made this achievement even more remarkable was that she defeated Saori Yoshida, considered a legend in the sport because she was the 13-time world champion and three-time reigning Olympic champion heading into the match. “I’ve been dreaming about wrestling Saori for so long,” Maroulis said to NBC afterwards. “She’s a hero. She’s the most decorated wrestler in the sport. It’s such an honour to wrestle her.” Maroulis went undefeated during her time at SFU, winning four WCWA championships in the process. She’s also indicated that she is “open” to a career in MMA. Could we be seeing her in the octagon sooner rather than later?