Canadian Success at the Rio Olympics: What is the Value of Developing Elite Athletes?


September 20, 2016 :: Ashley Patzer Steacy, Rachel Nicol and Rob Kossuth
Moderated by Dylan Purcell

Panel discussion partnership with Lethbridge Public Library and Lethbridge Herald

At the recent summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Canada had its second best showing ever in terms of medals won. Tied with our medal performance at the 1996 Atlanta games, only the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (boycotted by Russia) were more productive for Canada.
While the number of medals won is a measure of success for Canada’s elite athletes and a source of national pride, the larger question can be asked: What is the value to ordinary Canadians in the context of motivating them to live a healthier and more physically active lifestyle?
Canadian Olympic athletes (with very few exceptions) are role models to millions of Canadians and especially youngsters aspiring to reach their competitive goals. It is however encouraging very few to get off the couch and take up even recreational sports. Research show that sport participation rates for Canadians age 15 and over has decreased by nearly half since 1992 to about 25 percent.
Panel members will articulate their views on the topic and/or their Olympic experience. Questions from the audience are encouraged and welcome

Ashley Patzer Steacy is back in Lethbridge after spending year’s away training as a member of the Canadian women’s rugby 7s team. All the hard work however, paid off at the recent Olympics when the team beat England for the bronze medal in a very exiting tournament. Previously, Ashley played rugby for the U of L Pronghorns, winning three consecutive national titles from 2007-2009.

Rachel Nicol competed at the Rio Olympics as a member of Canada’s very successful swim team setting several personal bests and coming 5th in both the 100m breaststroke and as a member of the 4x100m medley relay team. Rachel returned to Lethbridge last year after four years at SMU in Dallas, Texas on a swim scholarship where she received All-Conference and All-American honours.

Heather Steacy is a Canadian champion and two time Olympian having competed in hammer throw at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Heather was named Pronghorn Female Athlete of the Year in 2008 and 2011 while competing on the track & field team at U of L.

Rob Kossuth was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Mississauga, Ont. He earned his PhD at the University of Western Ontario and in 2002 he joined the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. His current research “Physical Culture on Canada’s Prairie Frontier”, is a historical investigation of sport/recreation practices in southern Alberta communities examining the community building role of sport and physical culture.

Moderator: Dylan Purcell

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Venue: Lethbridge Public Library Theatre Gallery, Main Branch, 810 – 5th Ave. South

Free admission, everyone welcome


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