With the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio nearing, I can’t pass up the opportunity to highlight some sports you might not have tried before and athletes to watch for. Get inspired and try your hand at:
- What is it: When Canadians hear the word hockey, our first instinct is to think ice hockey. But the sport of field hockey, which is played on turf with a ball, is huge especially in commonwealth countries.
- Which BC Athlete to follow: David Carter of Vancouver is not a guy you can get by – if you’re a ball that is! He’ll be goaltending for Canada in Rio.
- What is it: Ever consider riding your bike at speeds in excess of 60 km/h, inches away from your competition and with no brakes? Track cycling is not for the faint of heart.
- Which BC Athlete to follow: Jasmin Glaesser of Vancouver has been on international podiums in track and road cycling, while Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook is a recent double World Champion on the track for paracyling. Keep an eye on them (if you can keep up!).
- What is it: With seven players per team, both teams pass a ball with the intention of scoring in their opponents net. Treading water while passing and catching the ball at high speeds is remarkable.
- Which BC Athlete to follow: Jacqueline Kohli of Burnaby started playing at age 7 and has been racking up titles across North America ever since.
- What is it: This is not your uncles ping pong table! This fast paced sport requires bullet speed reflexes, hand eye coordination of a surgeon, and the stamina of a work horse.
- Which BC Athlete to follow: Mo Zhang of Chilliwack is one of Canada’s best players and has been playing since 6 years of age. While Chim-Hing (Stephanie) Chan of Richmond picked up table tennis at 44 and quickly established herself (including a gold at the Toronto Pan-Am) as a champion para-table tennis player.
- What it is: From backstroke to butterfly, men and women race against each other at great speeds and varying distances with winners determined by fractions of a second.
- Which BC Athlete to follow: Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane has been swimming since age 4 and earned a bronze and silver in two consecutive Olympics. He is one of Canada’s best hope for a podium finish in Rio. Jonathan Dieleman of Quick BC didn’t let a dirt bike accident stop his athletic lifestyle. Armed with a Pan-Am medal and a Canadian record he’s keen to push onto the Paralympics in Rio.
After all this research and writing, I am now thinking of setting up a table tennis station at home.
Which of these five sports will you try this summer?