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Vancouverites, Sports, Olympics

1 Canadian, 3 Olympics, 3 different sports: Vancouverite makes history

Kenneth Chan Aug 09, 2016 7:35 am

It can take an entire lifetime to excel in a sport, never mind reaching the calibre of performance needed to compete with the world’s very best. However, a 27-year-old Vancouverite is going down in history this week as the first Canadian athlete to compete in three different Olympic sports in three consecutive Olympic Games, joining a small group of elite athletes in the world who have participated in both the Winter and Summer Games.

Rio de Janeiro 2016 will be Georgia Simmerling’s third Olympics, having competed in alpine skiing at her hometown’s Winter Olympics in 2010 and ski cross four years later at Sochi.

While each of her chosen sports are uniquely different, there is one attribute they all have in common: high speeds.

Alpine skiers are known to fly down mountains at speeds of 130 km/h during international competitions, and in ski cross the element of speed is mixed in with big-air jumps and high-banked turns with several skiers on the same course at the same time.

With track cycling, held at a velodrome, competing teams of four riders ride on the opposite sides of the track over a distance of four kilometres. The teams must pedal within inches of each other at all times, and the team that records the fastest time or catches the opponents wins.

Simmerling and her teammates, Allison Beveridge, Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaesser, and Kirsti Lay, are serious contenders for a medal in the track cycling at Rio having won silver in the World Championships last year in London.

But Simmerling’s journey to the Olympics has been anything but smooth as she had two accidents that nearly ended her career in elite sport: she broke her back and neck in 2012, and then she shattered her wrist in a crash in 2015. After Rio, she is expected to return to her skis to train for Pyeongchang 2018 qualifications.

Although she has yet to secure a medal victory, Simmerling joins Clara Hughes and Hayley Wickenheiser as Canada’s tight group of multi-sport Olympians.

Hughes won two bronze medals in road cycling at Atlanta 1996 and four medals, including one gold, in speed skating at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, and Vancouver 2010.

Wickenheiser is a five-time Winter Olympian, having been a part of the Canadian women’s Olympic ice hockey team for five consecutive Winter Games from Nagano 1998 to Sochi 2014. Since 1998, the Canadian women have won one silver and four golds in ice hockey.

Additionally, Wickenheiser was a part of the Canadian women’s softball team at Sydney 2000.

The cycling track competition at Rio 2016 begins this Thursday and the medal rounds will be held on Saturday.

Oh hayyy💁#rings

A photo posted by Georgia Simmerling (@gsimmerling) on

Park laps after training #instagrab #classic

A photo posted by Georgia Simmerling (@gsimmerling) on

Let’s get this season started! @fisfreestyle @audiskicross @alpinecanada #balance #power #canadaskicross

A video posted by Georgia Simmerling (@gsimmerling) on

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