The Olympics are so much more than just 17 days of the best athletes in the world competing for the most prestigious podium. What’s shown on our screens is the product of years, sometimes decades, of dedication. We see the outcomes of their Olympic dreams, but what we rarely see is the start of their journeys.
For six Olympians and Paralympians, their stories started right here in Surrey. Their dreams were sparked and sprouted in Surrey’s athletic facilities, nurtured by parents, coaches, teammates, and idols, and ignited by their passion and dedication to sport, competition, and excellence. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it most certainly takes a community to rear an Olympic athlete.
The process alone of qualifying for the Olympic games is arduous, and stepping into an Olympic arena, field, or swimming pool is an accomplishment in and of itself. Some athletes competed early on in the games, some are still waiting to represent their country and make their mark in their event, regardless of their standings, the athletic community in Surrey is beaming with pride.
Here are the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic athletes who call Surrey, BC their hometown:
- Ashley Gowanlock – Para-Dressage (Equestrian)
- Christabel Nettey – Athletics, specialising in Long Jump
- Richard Weinberger – Open Water Swimming
- Sukhpal Panesar – Men’s Field Hockey
- Tessa Popoff – Sitting Volleyball
- Tyler Mrak – Men’s Para-Swimming
** Photo of Ashley Gowanlock, photographed by Kevin Sparrow