The Lethbridge Sport Council and the University of Lethbridge have partnered to host a community send-off for a group of athletes who are participating in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics which take place July 27 – Aug. 12 and Aug. 29 - Sept. 9 in London, England.
Paralympic swimmer Zach McAllister has been named to the Canadian team to compete in London this summer, while hammer throwers Jim Steacy and Heather Steacy, and javelin thrower Liz Gleadle are participating in Track and Field events.
Larry Steinke, Track Coach with Pronghorn Athletics at the University of Lethbridge, will be attending the 2012 London Olympics after being selected as Throws Coach by Athletics Canada.
The community is invited to the University of Lethbridge, Upper Track of the 1st Cloice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness on Monday, July 16 at 12:30 p.m. for a brief send-off ceremony.
A large Canadian flag will be available for signing, and will travel with the athletes to London.
Meet the athletes and wish them good luck on their journey!
The dates and times of the athletes' appearances on TV (local/mountain time in brackets) are listed below, along with brief biographies.
James Steacy (men's hammer)
Competing: Qualifying – Aug. 3 at 11:20 a.m. GMT (5:20 a.m. MDT)
Finals – Aug. 5 at 8:20 p.m. GMT (2:20 p.m. MDT)
Steacy (28) (BASc '09), a Lethbridge, Alta. and Winston Churchill High School product, is one of the most decorated athletes in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) history. During his time as a Pronghorn track athlete, Steacy was undefeated in the weight throw, winning five Canada West and five CIS titles. He also captured three Canada West shot put titles and won three gold medals and one silver medal in shot at the CIS level. He last competed for the Horns in 2009.
The Canadian record holder in the men's hammer throw at 79.13m, Steacy set the mark at the 2008 Chinook Throws Gala. That season also marked his first Olympic appearance where he qualified for the Olympic final in Beijing, China and finished 10th overall.
Steacy, coached by Larry Steinke of the Chinook Track and Field Club, is the eight-time defending national champion in hammer throw.
Heather Steacy (women's hammer)
Competing: Qualifying - Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. GMT (4 a.m. MDT)
Finals – Aug. 10 at 7:35 p.m. GMT (1:35 p.m. MDT)
Steacy (24), a Lethbridge, Alta. and Winston Churchill High School product, heads to her first Olympics after dominating the competition at the Canada West and CIS levels in recent years. Steacy has won four Canada West weight throw titles to go along with two CIS gold, one silver and one bronze medal. She last competed for the Horns in 2011 when she was the Canada West gold medalist and CIS silver medalist.
Steacy won her second consecutive Canadian Track and Field Championship hammer throw title this spring with a throw of 70.48 metres and achieved her personal best of 72.16m at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, AZ earlier this year.
Steacy is coached by Larry Steinke of the Chinook Track and Field Club.
Elizabeth Gleadle (women's javelin)
Competing: Qualifying – Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. GMT (4 a.m. MDT)
Finals – Aug. 9 at 9 p.m. GMT (3 p.m. MDT)
Gleadle (23), originally from Vancouver, came to Lethbridge to train with throws coach Larry Steinke this past year, taking time away from her kinesiology studies at the University of British Columbia. She won gold at the 2012 Canadian Track and Field Trials with a throw of 60.13 metres, establishing a new meet record. Her personal best of 61.15 metres was set earlier this year at a National Track League event in Burnaby, B.C. It also stands as the Canadian record.
"I took this year off so I could make London," she told the Calgary Herald. "I took time off school, I moved cities; I did everything I was supposed to do. I napped, ate, slept some more, trained really hard, everything I was told to do by my coach (Larry Steinke). I trust him completely and it really paid off."
She'll be the first Canadian woman to compete in javelin at the Olympics since Seoul 1988, ironically, the year of her birth.
Zachary McAllister (men's swimming 400m freestyle S8)
Competing: Qualifying – Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. GMT (3:30 a.m. MDT)
Finals – Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. GMT (11:30 a.m. MDT)
McAllister (18), a Lethbridge native and Lethbridge Collegiate Institute product, has come up through the Lethbridge Amateur Swim Club (LASC). He will be representing Canada at the Paralympic Games, Aug. 29 to Sept. 9 in London.
The Canadian record holder in the men's S8 400-metre freestyle event, McAllister earned his spot on the Paralympic Games team by swimming his personal best and Canadian record time of four minutes, 49 seconds at the Olympic Trials in Montreal this spring.
McAllister represented Canada at the Para Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mex. in fall 2011, and after enrolling at the University of Lethbridge in January 2012, attended meets in Los Angeles, Colorado and Sheffield, England. McAllister's disability is a condition by which he has too many bones in his limbs, thereby restricting growth and range of motion in both his arms and legs.
Coach -- Larry Steinke (BA '94)
Steinke has been running the most prominent throws program in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) for years and has been consistently involved with Canada's elite athletes at the international level.
He began his national team affiliation as part of the 2007 Pan Am Games coaching staff and has since been to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 World Junior Track Championships, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and each of the 2009 and 2011 World Track & Field Championships.
He currently coaches three Olympians in Jim Steacy, Heather Steacy and Liz Gleadle and is a proud alumnus of the University of Lethbridge and head coach of the Horns track program.