Summer 2015 / Vol. 18, No. 1
University of Toronto
Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education
Home Turf advantage
Pan Am Comes to U of T
CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR
Professor Catherine Sabiston earns national accolade
CAN PAN AM MAKE TORONTO HEALTHIER? Professor Peter Donnelly talks legacy
GOLDRING GETS NEW CAMPAIGN CHAIR Patrick Oâ€™Hanlon takes the reigns
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Summer 2015 / Vol. 18, No. 1
EDITOR Sarah Baker ASSOCIATE EDITOR Valerie Iancovich CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Baker, Mary Beth Challoner, Jill Clark, Adrienne Harry, Valerie Iancovich, Rachel Keeling, Jeremy Knight, John Lorinc, Cynthia MacDonald, Sarah Ryeland PHOTOGRAPHY Martin Bazyl, John Hryniuk, Johnny Guatto, Aric Guité, Joel Jackson, Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve, Arnold Lan, Sandy Nicholson, Peter Oleskevich, Seed 9, Yucheng Zhang Illustration Karsten Petrat ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Joel Jackson PURSUIT is published twice a year by U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
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Faculty Notes Science and tecnology in sport
Home Turf Advantage W ill hosting Pan Am give our athletes
Blues News Celebrating the year’s best
Fit Tips Standing room only for U of T office staff
Ones to Watch 38 Our athletes on the road to Pan AM 45
Donor Spotlight Patrick O’Hanlan gives back
COVER/ John Hryniuk
Time Out 52 Paralympic gold, remembered
Dean's Message This is Our Time As I write, I truly believe that, at this moment, the stars are aligned and shining brightly on the University of Toronto and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education! In a few weeks, the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games will shine a spotlight on Toronto, our facilities, staff, students, and alumni. Varsity Stadium and the Back Campus fields will be host venues for archery and para archery, field hockey and para 5-aside/7–aside football. Our Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport will serve as a volleyball training facility. Our U of T Scarborough campus will host aquatics, diving, fencing, pentathalon an other events. A number of our staff and faculty are engaged as volunteers in front-line and leadership positions with Toronto 2015. Shining brightest of all will be the University of Toronto and Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education students, athletes and graduates competing for Team Canada. In this issue of Pursuit, we are proud to profile some of those individuals confirmed to compete or still hopeful (See Ones to Watch, page 38). In recognition of Canada’s role as host of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, The Governor General designated 2015 to be the year of sport for Canada. The proclamation highlights the importance of the Games as a platform by which to encourage Canadians to become more active and healthy through both sport and physical activity, and it is gratifying to see our Faculty’s mission reflected in this societal objective. It is also exciting to see our goals embraced within U of T President Gertler’s top priorities, through acknowledgment of the University’s role as a catalyst
for building healthy cities. The University’s focus on healthy cities reinforces the importance of the KPE mission and underscores the relevance of the strategic priorities in our 2013-2018 Academic Plan. We made excellent progress with our Academic Plan this year. It is gratifying to see the efforts of so many manifested through new and expanded program initiatives. We saw an increase in support from government and industry to support research and research facilities. We hosted several academic and public symposia on sport and exercise research (see pages 4 and 12). And, with the opening of the Goldring Centre and revitalized Back Campus fields, we now offer our students some of the highest quality spaces for competitive sport, fitness and recreational activities available at a Canadian university. As we look ahead to 2015-16, we will continue to establish research, education and program opportunities that leverage the unique integration and synergies of our academic, high performance sport and broad-based physical activity mandates. In 2016-17, we will offer a new master’s degree – a Master of Professional Kinesiology. This will be a milestone event for us, reinforcing the maturation and evolution of our Faculty and the growing recognition for Kinesiology as a regulated health profession in Ontario. It is a momentous and proud time to be in the Faculty and there are many great stories to share. I hope you enjoy this issue of Pursuit. Ira Jacobs, Dean
Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education PHOTO/ Seed9
ON YOUR MARK
Eyes On the Games: Pan Am competitor Zack Chetrat will represent Canada this summer. Zack is just one of a handful of U of T athletes who have their sights set on making the hometown proud this July.
PHOTO/ Sandy Nicholson
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
From Good to Gold: Science and Technology in High Performance Sport When Dave Ross first started coaching trampoline athletes in the 1970s, sport and science weren’t nearly as intertwined as they are now. “We didn’t have nutritionists, sport psychologists, or biomechanists,” he says of the days before trampoline became an Olympic sport. “There was no support for the team the way there is now.” But the “scienceminded” Ross—a one-time physics student who manufactures trampolines in addition to coaching Olympians such as gold medalist and KPE student, Rosie MacLennan— appreciates just how much sports technology has advanced, particularly in the digital age.
can provide detailed information about heart and lung function in athletes. And a cell phone app can be used to gather real-time data about how stress and emotions affect a team’s performance during a game. All of these technologies were showcased May 12, at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The event was the Faculty’s eighth public symposium – made possible with
things off with a spectacular trampoline routine for the crowd. With the help of wheelchair basketball player Flavio Pagliero, Professor Greg Wells demonstrated how the body’s systems respond to extreme conditions, including intense physical exertion performed routinely by high performance athletes. Wells outfitted Pagliero with an instrumented face-mask. Via Bluetooth, the device collected data about Pagliero’s physiological responses to exercise such as heart rate, oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide output, respiratory exchange ratio, breathing rate, tidal volume, minute volume, and velocity of movement.
“We now have mobile technology that allows us to look at the human body in a non-invasive way.”– Greg Wells
Tiny body sensors can now measure muscle activity and motion while athletes train. A “wearable lab” in the form of an instrumented face mask
support from U of T’s senior advisor on science and engineering engagement, Professor Molly Shoichet. More than 650 members of the public seized the opportunity to watch KPE professors demonstrate applications of the latest innovations in sport science, with the help of some of Canada’s top athletes. Ross participated in the event alongside MacLennan, who kicked
With the data streaming to the huge digital scoreboard above the gym floor, Wells was able to point out the moment Flavio’s muscles were likely contracting hard enough to accumulate lactic acid,
“Now, athletes are able to record their experiences quickly, after games and practices. It makes data collection much easier.” Tamminen’s work in the Sport and Performance Psychology Lab examines stress, coping, and emotion among high performance athletes. “I’m interested in not only how athletes’ emotions influence their functioning and performance,” she said, “but also, how those messages are communicated among teammates.”
and show the audience how Pagliero’s breathing and heart rate quickened when they cheered him on for a free throw – useful information for athletes and their coaches. “We now have mobile technology that allows us to look at the human body in a non-invasive way,” Wells said. “It can give us real insights into what’s happening in competition-like situations.”
“To make decisions, Rosie only has 0.3 of a second–about the same time a professional baseball player has to decide whether or not to swing his bat.” Welsh said. “Whereas a baseball player only needs to be right 35 per cent of the time to be considered a great hitter, Rosie needs to be right 100 per cent of the time. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.”
Finally, Professor Tyson Beach, whose background is in biomechanics took to the field house floor to show how he uses force and motion measurements to study athletic performance and risk of injury. Beach’s team creates mathematical models of the human body: “these help us understand how the movement system functions mechanically – from the standpoints of performance, durability and longevity.” After attaching motion-tracking markers to MacLennan, Beach had her perform a series of drop jumps onto a force plate. The deceptively simple-looking metal square on the floor fed information to a computer and provided readings about the amount of power MacLennan could produce in a simple jump (far more, of course, than a non-Olympian would). Beach and his team use their research to develop assessment tools that can be applied by coaches in training environments.
Professor Katherine Tamminen demonstrated how a more ubiquitous form of technology is used in her research: Next up was Professor Tim Welsh the cell phone. Tamminen provided cell who, with help from a GoPro® camera, “This evening’s event truly is unique phones to wheelchair basketball players demonstrated how MacLennan uses because it brings together something we Pagliero, Sarah Black and Dani Bigu. The sensory cues to plan and control are all very familiar with – sport - with athletes recorded their emotions during her actions on the trampoline. As a world that’s unknown to many of us – the event, using Experience Sampler, MacLennan flipped some 6 meters in the sport science and research,” said Master an app created by researchers at U of T. air, Welsh, whose research focuses on the of Ceremonies Tom Harrington of CBC. The data was then compared to similar cognitive and neural mechanisms that observations that had been recorded people use to achieve their movement “To have an opportunity like this one, during the previous week. goals, described how MacLennan was in which we bring together athletes, using visual and vestibular information coaches and researchers, for live “We used to do this [sort of research] to make very slight hand and arm demonstrations to explore this impact, is using pencils and paper, or with online movements to ensure a perfect landing amazing.” surveys completed by athletes at home and take-off each time. in front of a computer,” said Tamminen. – Cynthia Macdonald
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Sabiston named national leader
in mental health and exercise research Professor Catherine Sabiston was recently awarded a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Physical Activity and Mental Health by the Government of Canada. Aimed at making Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development, the CRC program invests over $260 million annually to establish research professorships for some of Canada’s most promising scholars. Sabiston is the first CRC recipient in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Focused on studying ‘drugless’ methods of enhancing mental health, Sabiston’s research program will examine factors related to physical activity and mental health, particularly issues surrounding body image, selfconscious emotions, stress, depression and anxiety. Using the new Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Center (MPARC), Sabiston hopes to develop and test initiatives to get more people physically active, and in turn, offset the prediction that mental health problems will surpass all chronic diseases in the next ten years. “We so frequently pathologize everything, but it is equally important to study how physical activity can increase positive emotional experiences.” says Sabiston. The
CRC will provide support to study the associations between sport and exercise and mental health and to help identify ways to get more people more active and less sedentary.” Sabiston is a leader in both body image research and positive psychology perspectives in oncology. Much of her research is devoted to the impacts of negative self-perception on teenage girls’ participation in sport and the impact of physical activity on cancer survivors. One of her most recent endeavours is Active Match, an online partnering system designed to help women who are cancer survivors find
an exercise partner. In 2016, Sabiston will work with adolescent girls to develop a body acceptance program for young female athletes, based on data she is currently collecting on body image and emotion in teenagers. “There is an important association between physical activity and mental health that is often overlooked in research and practice,” says Sabiston. “It is important that Canadians increase their physical activity levels because this can have a huge impact on both the physical and mental health of people and reduce health care costs.” – Adrienne Harry
PHOTO/ Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve
MoveU campaign is gaining ground: researchers Inspiring busy, often stressed-out, students to add physical activity to their agendas can be a challenge. But according to a paper published in the March issue of the Journal of American College Health and the findings of master’s student Alicia Luciani, University of Toronto’s tri-campus, multi-platform MoveU campaign is making headway. Led by Professor Guy Faulkner (CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health), researchers from the Faculty, have been assessing the campaign’s progress since it launched in 2012. The team measured awareness of the campaign by including questions about MoveU and physical activityrelated goals in the 2013 National College Health Assessment survey. Of 2,784 U of T students surveyed, 36 percent said they were familiar with the MoveU campaign. The researchers found that the target audience—firstyear females—were most likely to know about the social marketing campaign and that those who were aware of the campaign were also more likely to say that they intended to get more active and actually engage in physical activity.
PHOTO/ sEED 9
Luciani, who defended her thesis in March, under the supervision of Faulkner, analyzed the social media component of the MoveU campaign, focusing primarily on Facebook and the role that social media can play in inspiring physical activity. While social media is often associated with sedentary behaviour, Luciani says the target audience has their phones with them all the time and that it’s actually the best way to connect with these students. “Social networking sites are a useful tool for health promotion and physical activity promotion, no doubt about it,” she says. According to Luciani’s research, Facebook has been especially valuable for promoting MoveU events. “Students in our focus groups were interested in seeing photos from past events; it seemed to inspire them to want to go to future events.” Another effective approach is to reach students using methods that suit social media. “Our analytics research determined that posts that used humour and pop culture references scored highest,” Luciani explains. “We also found students like quick facts and tips on how to get active. The most popular of all the posts was a motivational, funny meme featuring [actor] Ryan Gosling.”
Michelle Brownrigg, KPE’s director of physical activity and equity, spearheaded the campaign and says that including this academic analysis of MoveU has ensured that organizers can make informed decisions about how MoveU develops and connects with students. “This research is also an excellent example of how we can reap the benefits of being a part of this integrated Faculty,” Brownrigg explains. Because the campaign is still new, Faulkner emphasizes the importance of revisiting these baseline findings in a couple of years to ensure that awareness continues to increase. Faulkner also advises that MoveU messaging gain more of a presence in the classroom. “I think it’s important to get peer leaders right into the big lecture halls and to create stronger connections with other faculties to help make that happen.” The success of the award-winning campaign has already garnered attention from other universities and academic institutions. Two years ago, Sheridan College adopted and customized the campaign for their students. “It would be great if the work that went into developing MoveU was picked up by other schools and used as a basis for developing their own home grown initiatives,” says Faulkner. “I believe that the MoveU messaging and brand would resonate at any Canadian university or college.” – Valerie Iancovich
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Undergraduate research: is sport really “just a game”?
In sport, dealing with loss is inevitable. psychology,” says Poucher. “I noticed there was a gap in the literature when Even the most accomplished athlete it came to how confidence is affected will have off days. But how difficult is it by a win or a loss. I thought it would be for an athlete to shake off the agony of really interesting to examine.” defeat? Fourth-year kinesiology student Zoe Poucher asks this question in her In her study, Poucher has been current research on athletic identity interviewing five athletes who represent and contingent self-worth. a variety of sports and varying degrees of athletic success. All of the study’s “There’s been a lot of research on how participants have received national an athletes begin to define themselves accolades during their careers and by their sport, but little study on how some have their sights set on Olympic performance is tied to self-worth,” says gold. So far, Poucher’s findings indicate Poucher. “How does winning or losing that athletic performance is strongly affect an athlete’s overall confidence? tied to feelings of self-worth. How are their social relationships impacted? My research looks at the psychological effects of sport outside of “All of the participants have said that their self-esteem and self-worth the sport itself.” are highly dependent on athletic achievements,” says Poucher. “Some Poucher, a former track and field participants purposely link one with athlete, became interested in this subject after taking a stress and coping the other, while others view it as a burden.” class with her supervisor, Professor Katherine Tamminen. Poucher has also found that multiple instances of high-level success in an “I started volunteering in Dr. athlete’s career seem to offset the Tamminen’s lab and was exposed negative impact of one or two losses. to more and more research in sport
“I’ve asked participants about successes as well as failures. They all have many positive stories to tell and I find that their negative experiences aren’t as impactful because overall, they are very successful.” Poucher presented her findings at Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s 16th Annual Bertha Rosenstadt National Undergraduate Research Conference on March 27. The multidisciplinary conference brought undergraduate students from all over Canada together to discuss their research and share ideas with their peers. But the conference is just the beginning—Poucher wants to delve deeper into this research as a graduate student. She hopes to explore the impact of more grave instances of perceived failure. “In the future, I’d like to look at what happens to athletes who sustain careerending injuries,” says Poucher. “I also want to examine how retired athletes redefine themselves after their sporting careers end. How do they make that
PHOTO/ Martin Bazyl
Goldring Centre A striking addition to Doors Open Toronto unexpected transition from athlete to non-athlete?” Varsity Blues Track and Field head coach Carl Georgevski believes that coaches can ultimately put research like Poucher’s to good use when developing training strategies. “Sport psychology research teaches coaches how to connect with athletes as people,” says Georgevski. “As coaches, we are not training a ‘football player’ or a ‘sprinter’, but rather, a person. And if you look after the person, the performance results take care of themselves.” – AH
The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport was a key feature in Doors Open Toronto, held May 23-24. The annual community event offers free access to more than 150 of the city’s most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings. In celebration of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am games, this year’s theme was “sports, recreation and leisure.” Globe and Mail architecture critic Alexander Bozikovicc named the Goldring Centre among his top five picks from the event, noting its “striking design.” Over 3,800 visitors passed through the Goldring Centre over the weekend and learned about the building’s unique features, including its green, energy-efficient roof, the bridge-like steel beams that support the second, third and fourth floors and the outward facing strength and conditioning area. Guests also had a chance to meet Olympian and Blues women’s hockey coach Vicky Sunohara and Pan Am competitor and Blues swimmer Zack Chetrat. On May 24, guests also got a panoramic view of the Canadian women’s soccer team as they practiced on the Varsity Centre field. The Doors Open event wasn’t the first time that the Goldring Centre’s architecture has turned heads. In April, Patkau Architects Inc. and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd. won a Design Excellence Award from the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) for their vision of Goldring. In May, the team also received an OAA People’s Choice Award nomination.
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“Honours like the OAA’s Design Excellence award are great because the juries understand the challenges in realizing a complex project like the Goldring Centre,” says Shane O’Neil, an associate with Patkau Architects with Patkau Architects. “It’s great to be recognized by a wider audience. It’s our hope that the Goldring Centre will continue to serve the U of T campus well throughout the coming decades.”
PHOTO/ Johnny Guatto
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Professor Ira Jacobs
announcements Professor Ira Jacobs has been appointed to a second term as dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. His term will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2021. In his first term, Jacobs led the development of a new Academic Plan. He will continue to work on its implementation, strategic goals and priorities. Jacobs has delivered on the decanal priorities of enhancing and deepening the research capacity and profile of the Faculty, and seeing two capital construction projects to fruition. He has been instrumental in growing undergraduate and graduate programs in kinesiology and exercise sciences and ensuring their high academic quality. Overall, Jacobs’ leadership has the Faculty well-positioned to continue on a positive upward trajectory in terms of its enrolment plans, research profile and reputation during his second term. Professor Gretchen Kerr has been appointed acting dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education while Jacobs takes a 12-month administrative leave. Kerr will serve in this capacity from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, at which point Jacobs will begin his second term as dean.
Professor Gretchen Kerr
Kerr has served as vice-dean, academic affairs at KPE since 2013, and prior to this held the position of associate dean, undergraduate education. She has significant administrative experience, positive relations across the Faculty and knowledge of all aspects of KPE, including the administrative, academic, and co-curricular areas. In her current role, Kerr has oversight of the development, management and evaluation of the Faculty’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs. She was instrumental in the development of the Faculty’s new academic plan and is leading the implementation of its innovative teaching and learning initiatives.
Luc Tremblay named Associate Dean, Research Professor Luc Tremblay has been appointed associate dean, research in the Faculty. Tremblay’s term began on January 1, 2015 and will run until June 30, 2018. “Professor Tremblay has proven his vision in several ways leading up to this appointment, most recently as chair of the KPE Research Committee,” says Dean Ira Jacobs. “His research skills and experience will help the Faculty to
Professor Luc Tremblay
strengthen its capacity and recognition in research, scholarship, innovation and creative activity.” Tremblay received his PhD in motor control from McMaster University in 2002. He was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in 2003 and was promoted to professor with tenure in 2008. In addition to serving as chair for the KPE Research Committee, he served as president of the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology, and vice-president of University and External Affairs of the University of Toronto Faculty Association. Tremblay’s research has been funded by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, the Ontario Research Fund, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. In his new role, Tremblay looks forward to fostering sport and health research that can positively impact the broader community. “I am particularly excited to build mutually beneficial relationships between research and all other activity streams in our Faculty,” says Tremblay. “Creating these important links will help KPE yield better and more impactful research that can, in turn, improve the lives of all Canadians. After all, if our research does not tackle the physical inactivity pandemic, then whose research will?” – AH
PHOTOs/ Left Middle: Seed9 / Right: John Hryniuk
Sport, Sexuality and Change
Michelle Wood (KPE 2009, B.Ed 2010) isn’t used to being dismissed on the volleyball court. But the former standout Blue and current Acadia University head coach has more than once been mistaken for a player or other staff since taking the reins in 2012. “At a recent tournament, an official passed right by me. My male assistant coach was treated as the head coach. I wasn’t even acknowledged,” Wood told the crowd gathered at the February 24 event, She Talks. Wood shared the podium with Rosie Cossar, a Canadian Olympic rhythmic gymnast who has worked with Toronto’s 519 Church Street Community Centre on the creation of Pride House Toronto, a resource house for LGBTQ athletes to be launched for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Both athletes discussed their successes and struggles as women in high performance sport. Cossar, who trained in Russia for years, casts a critical eye on the role that homophobia and narrowly-defined views of femininity and masculinity play in gymnastics culture. “I remember laughing at things that now when I think about it, was me only going along with the crowd. I’m working towards changing the view of sexuality in my sport,” she said. Cossar has been open about her own sexual identity for years, but says coming out in her sport was especially difficult. Cossar’s talent as an athlete helped to give her the confidence she needed to face her critics and pave the way for other gymnasts coping with similar struggles. PHOTO/ Peter Oleskevich
Wood has a similar commitment to making change inside of her organization. She believes that women need to work together as mentors and leaders to connect and make change. She credits her own Blues coach, Kristine Drakich, for encouraging her to apply for her current job at Acadia, where she is the school’s only female varsity head coach. “Women in sport can sometimes doubt that they are capable,” Wood explained. “To have positive mentors to encourage us and to use as a sounding board when we are stuck makes us more confident to move forward and excel.” KPE student Eleni Vlahiotis took a lead in organizing She Talks, and says the goal of the event was to initiate conversations within the U of T community to help promote inclusivity, leading up to the Pan Am Games and beyond. “It starts with just one person willing to listen to the conversation and being open minded about what needs to change in society. One person can definitely make a difference - we have to begin the journey somewhere.” This was the second annual She Talks event, a multi-partner initiative hosted by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education as part of the Ignite program, designed to address key topics based on sexuality issues and those related to women and gender leading up to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. – VI
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
International summit brings together brightest minds in sport research
Sport science is now a rich and varied field. Scholars spend time studying nutrition and physiology, while others concentrate on the social and psychological sides of athletic experience. But because the terrain is so diverse, specialists in one area risk missing out on developments in another. In April, the Pan American Sport and Exercise Research Summit (Pan Ex) in Toronto gave academics from around the world a rare chance to come together to look at the world of physical activity from every possible angle: physical, psychological and social. “The multidisciplinary approach is a reflection of what sport really is - a conglomerate,” said Dean Ira Jacobs, head of the PanEx 2015 programming committee. “Sometimes the best new ideas emerge from a meeting of minds, all of whom have different lenses through which they can look at something.” Timed to coincide with preparations for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan
Am Games, the conference was an initiative of the University of Toronto and jointly organized with Brock, McMaster and York universities. The schools each offer academic degrees in kinesiology and/or physical education, and all are in cities that will host competition venues during the Games. Some 30 speakers from Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada shared findings and discussed sport and exercise research and policy issues across an array of topics. The conference’s nine panels covered training and diet, multiculturalism and international development, motivation and sports medicine. Professor Michael Atkinson coordinated a panel on athletes and identity. The panel looked at the question from “three radically different perspectives,” said Atkinson. “But we all looked at groups who are very vulnerable in sport.” Atkinson spoke about parental abuse in youth sport, while colleagues from the U.S. and England addressed sex testing and disability.
Atkinson also moderated the closing day’s more informal Café Scientifique. “The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council provided funding to bring in speakers who could speak specifically about the socio-cultural impact of sport, including the effects on society of hosting a large international sporting event,” said Jacobs. By sharing information at conferences such as this, Atkinson said, academics will be in a better position to advise and influence policy-makers in a way that will augment the beneficial impacts of sport. Another conference highlight was the keynote address by Professor Rodrigo Reis of Brazil. Reis spoke about how differently sport and exercise are viewed across countries and cultures, including his own. In Brazil, for example, afterschool programs are funded by government, and sport is an article in the nation’s constitution. Cultural support (and not just native talent) can be a big determinant of success at something like the Pan Am Games and yet the role of culture in creating athletes is not prominent on the radar screen of policy makers in many countries.
PHOTO/ Yucheng Zhang
Spreading the word
Staff member honoured for promoting diversity across campus A small contribution can have a global impact. This is the message Susan Lee tries to instill in her Equity Movement group—students from across the University who advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion through physical activity. Jacobs described the PanEx Summit as a “multi-disciplinary trial balloon” to see what can happen when the brightest minds in sport research are able to trade ideas in a common space. Gathering such a diverse group together can be challenging, but worth it, Jacobs pointed out. For the many graduate and undergraduate students of the Faculty who attended PanEx 2015, this was a chance to hear and even meet world experts whose theories and research they have studied in the classroom.
“Ultimately, we want to change the world,” says Lee. “But we start off by thinking about what we can change here, right now, either personally or collectively, to make everyone feel welcomed and safe.”
And though PanEx 2015 was timed to occur in the year of the Games, Atkinson also believes the time has come for more frequent gatherings of this type.
“A lot of my work is done through the student mentorship model, which builds capacity to reach out to more and more underrepresented groups,” says Lee. “I mentor ten students, who in turn reach out and hopefully reach another ten. It helps the students build leadership skills, helps them learn to collaborate, and ultimately, feel more connected to the University. It fosters a sense of belonging.”
“Our own Faculty is very eclectic”, he said. “Sport is a complicated space and that requires complicated research. We’d like to encourage people to come together regularly, and have the conversations they haven’t been having.” – Cynthia MacDonald
Lee’s emphasis on developing leadership skills in her students ensures that U of T’s mission extends far beyond the university walls. This summer, one of her students will study in Turkey, another is heading to law school and a third will go on to study naturopathic medicine. While Lee appreciates being recognized for her work within the U of T community, it is seeing her students continue to advocate for diversity in their future pursuits that she finds most gratifying. “Whenever I can, I connect students with opportunities to build on their achievements so that they can continue the message about equity and inclusion wherever their endeavours take them,” says Lee. “It’s heartwarming to see students take their ideas globally.” – AH
Lee, assistant manager of co-curricular equity and diversity in the Faculty, was recognized by the University in March, when she was featured in the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) campaign. IDERD has been observed worldwide for nearly fifty years. U of T launched its tri-campus IDERD campaign in March 2012. Every year, U of T profiles students, staff and faculty who are working to advance antiracism while contributing to the University’s commitment to create diverse, equitable and inclusive learning and working environments. Through her work with Equity Movement, Lee has been advancing the University’s mission for 20 years.
PHOTO/ Arnold Lan
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
The science of sprint starts For Olympian and 2015 Pan Am hopeful Sarah Wells, few athletic moments are as rife with anticipation as those leading up to when she places her feet on the starting blocks. “Your start sets up your entire race,” Wells explains. “When you have a great start, you’ve already done the work early and can carry that momentum forward. It makes it more likely that you will reach your top end speed and that’s what track and field is all about—who can run the fastest and the longest.” “A good start can make or break an athlete’s performance during a big race,” says Bob Westman, sprints coach for the Varsity Blues track and field team. Master’s student Lindsay Musalem is working with Pan Am-bound track athletes, Westman and Blues sprinters to optimize their starts, using custom-made force plates that have been affixed to training start blocks. The equipment came from Own the Podium and has been used at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario at the Pan Am Centre. Here at U of T they are being used for the first time to gather data during practice and training sessions. “My thesis focuses on whether or not athletes can consistently reproduce the same start, using the force plates,” Musalem explains. “So we’re going into multiple practices and training 14
sessions with the same athletes to see if, over time, they are able to reproduce strong starts.” Musalem, who is supervised by Professor Tyson Beach, is measuring not only how quickly the athletes are getting off the start blocks, but also how much force is being exerted on to the plate and back at the athlete and all directions, forwards and back, side-to-side and vertically. With the data gathered by the force plates, Musalem is able to see which direction the athletes are pushing in. In theory, the sprinter should push straight in the horizontal direction to get off the blocks as efficiently as possible. “You don’t want the athletes creating extraneous forces that aren’t going to help them get out of the blocks,” Musalem explains. The challenge for the athletes and coaches is to find a balance between the horizontal and the vertical because obviously they are coming out of the blocks with their torso over their body so they want to achieve balance while not falling over. “A good sprint start is kind of a controlled fall,” Musalem explains. “It’s attempting to maximize the horizontal while staying upright.” Westman has found the research to be helpful in developing more informed coaching techniques. “It’s great because we get real-time results that we can take back to our offices to analyze and apply to training.” Wells, who competes in the 400 metre hurdles, appreciates the benefits that sport science-informed training can provide. “One of the benefits to training at U of T is the research like Lindsay’s. It helps me find that extra edge.”– VI PHOTO/ John Hryniuk
From November 2014 to April 2015, the Faculty was awarded more than $1.7M in research funding for a range of initiatives.
Guy Faulkner has been awarded a Green
Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos has been
Michael Hutchison has been awarded a Canadian Institute for Military & Veterans Health Research contract for his project, “Understanding concussion.”
awarded a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Subgrant, via McMaster University, for her project, “Development, implementation, and assessment of the Active Living Peer Mentorship Program for persons with disabilities.”
Michael Atkinson has been awarded a
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant for “PAN EX 2015: The Pan American Sport and Exercise Research Summit.”
Simon Darnell received a Connaught New Investigator Award for his project, “Physical and political activity? Understanding elite athletes as social and political activists,” in addition to an Economic and Social Research Council Operating Subgrant, via Loughborough University, for his project, “Sport for a better world? A social scientific investigation of the sport for development and peace sector.” PAn ex 2015 illustration/ luke PAUW
Communities Canada Operating Grant for his project, “A cost-benefit of school travel planning in Ontario.”
Bruce Kidd has been awarded a SSHRC Connection Grant for “Historicizing the Pan American Games.” Dan Moore has been awarded an
Ajinomoto Co. Inc. research contract for his project “Re-evaluation of protein requirements in endurance athletes.” Dan also received a Nestec Limited research contract for his project, “Assessment of the optimal amount of protein at breakfast for children” and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)Discovery Grant for his project “Mechanisms of human skeletal muscle remodelling with exercise.”
Catherine Sabiston has been awarded
a Canada Research Chair Tier II in Physical Activity and Mental Health. See page 6 for details.
Luc Tremblay has been awarded an
NSERC Discovery Grant for his project, “Real-time multisensory utilization during the different online control phases of voluntary actions.” Postdoctoral fellow Linda Trinh has been awarded a Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute Travel Award for her project, “Correlates of physical activity among kidney cancer survivors.”
Greg Wells has been awarded a
Movember Canada Men’s Health & Wellbeing Innovation Challenge Grant for his project, “The Health Oracle App: Predicting health and guiding action” as well as a Mitacs Accelerate Graduate Research Internship Program Grant, jointly funded by matching partner Nutrigenomix, for his project, “Caffeine, genetic variation and athletic performance.”
Tim Welsh has been awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant for his project, “The processing of nonhuman animal bodies and point of gaze.” –Jeremy Knight
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Wisdom gives edge to Athlete of the Year and Pan Am hopeful
PHOTO/ Aric GuitĂŠ
Sasha Gollish is not a superstitious person. But the Pan Am hopeful wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to run the 1000m on Friday the 13 at the Spire Invitational meet this past February. “I said to my coaches, Ross Ristuccia and Carl Georgevski, ‘I don’t feel well. I feel so heavy and slow.’” With a little coaxing, Gollish laced up and went on to deliver the 2014-15 performance she’s most proud of: a time of 2:39.70, which set a meet record and ranked her sixth in the world. This remarkable time was just one of a series of other standout finishes that helped to take the Blues women’s track team to the top of the CIS podium and earned Gollish the titles of both CIS Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year and U of T Female Athlete of the Year for 2015. “Sasha Gollish is a genuinely home grown University of Toronto developed student-athlete,” says Georgevski. “She started in our junior development track program back in 1996 and was rookie of the year as a first-year U of T student-athlete in 2000.” Gollish stands out among past winners of the athlete of the year honour because of the multiple and complex and demands she’s met while racing. “I am an engineer by trade. The foundation of undergrad is learning how to multitask. I can work well this way.” She not only works well, but thrives with a full plate. Gollish works as an engineering consultant; she’s earning her PhD at U of T and is racing against students who are often 10 to 15 years her junior. “Sasha is an extremely bright, talented and compassionate woman. From a coach’s perspective she is the total package—a fierce competitor on the track and a true teammate and leader off the track.” “They keep me young,” the 33-year old says of her teammates, with a light-hearted laugh. “Things have changed between when I first competed and now—what matters most to me is different.” Over the years Gollish has fine-tuned what brings out her optimal performances. For example, her school work and sessions at the gym suffer without adequate sleep, so she won’t compromise on that; she is also very mindful of her diet. And beyond that, she’s able to manage expectations and stress better. “My perspective is different,” she explains. “If I have a bad work out, for example, I get over it really quickly. Before, it would eat me up for a couple of days. I appreciate that I have more wisdom now.” Georgevski is confident that her experience and skills will take her to the next level. “Here we are in 2015 and it’s already been a big year; she is the CIS Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year, U of T Female Athlete of the Year and we’re not done yet. We still have the Pan Am Games in her sights.”—Valerie Iancovich For a full list of Athletes of the Year, see page 23
National Best Fencing In March, the Blues fencing team won the inaugural National University Championship banner in Kitchener. It has been a strong year for the men’s team, who brought home several medals at the provincial level, with William Kinney earning gold in men’s sabre and Tommy Liu earning silver. Track and Field The Blues women’s track and field team claimed the 2015 banner at the CIS championships in Windsor. The win marks their fourth in program history. Sasha Gollish was named CIS female outstanding athlete of the meet after winning gold in the 100m and 300m, and silver in the 600m (where she set a U of T time of 1:29.71 and 1500m). Gollish, along with her teammates Rachel Jewett, Honor Walmsley and Gabriela Stafford, placed first in the 4x800m relay. — AH
Celebrating Pan Am For a list of Blues athletes competing in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, see the Ones to Watch section on page 38.
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Both the men’s and women’s water polo teams claimed gold at the 2014 OUA championships in November.
The Blues women’s volleyball team won its ninth OUA title in program history in February. Fifth-year veteran Jennifer Neilson was named OUA player of the match for her performance at the gold medal game. The Blues went on to host the CIS women’s volleyball championship later that month—the first championship tournament held on the Kimel Family field house in the Goldring Centre. The Blues placed fourth overall at the event and fifth-year Charlotte Sider was named CIS all-Canadian for the second consecutive season.
The OUA win marks the 30th in program history for the men’s team. Michael Chapman and Sever Topan were named OUA all-stars for contributing three goals between them to the Blues' 7-6 win over the Carleton Ravens. Head coach Vlad Tasevski was named OUA men’s water polo coach of the year. After completing a perfect 8-0 season, the women’s team earned their second consecutive banner at the meet. Breanna Gadzosa was named most valuable goalie while her teammates, Danielle Hirsh and Emily Bidinosti, earned OUA all-star honours. Their coach, George Gross Jr., was named OUA women’s coach of the year.
Track and Field For the first time since 2004, the Blues women’s track and field team claimed the provincial title, with Sasha Gollish setting a new OUA record along the way. The Blues swept the 600m race, with Gollish finishing in 1:30:41, and her teammates
Rachel Jewett and Fiona Callender rounding out the top three. Gollish also took the top spot in the 1500m race, with secondyear physical science student Gabriela Stafford right behind her. Jewett, Callendar, Maggie Hanlon and Ellie Hirst earned gold in the 4x200m relay. Swimming The men’s swimming team brought home their twelfth consecutive OUA title in February, leading with 63 titles overall since the championships began in 1910. Second-year cognitive science major Hochan Ryu received the Dr. Jeno Tihanyi award and was named OUA swimmer of the year after winning gold in the 200 butterfly and the 400 and 200 individual medleys. First-year Oliver Straszynski won gold in the 200 freestyle and was named OUA’s male rookie of the year.
Not to be outdone, the women’s team claimed their second consecutive OUA title at the championships—their 26th in program history. Rookie standout Kylie Masse won four individual titles at the meet, nabbing gold in the 50, 100 and 200 backstroke events, as well as the top spot in the 200 individual medley. Masse finished the 100 backstroke in record time, toppling U of T alumna Andrea Jurenovski’s previous record of 1:00.63 with a new time of 59.15 seconds. For her outstanding performance at the meet, Masse was named both rookie and swimmer of the year, and received the Dr. Jeno Tihanyi award for individual medley excellence. Veteran swimmer Paige Schultz won gold in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events for the second consecutive season. Shultz, along with teammates Vanessa Treasure, and Margot Cunningham earned awards of distinction at the meet.
PHOTOS/ Martin Bazyl
a very complex sport, all with a positive attitude. This is the underlying message during Black History Month: obstacles do not have to hold you back.” Treasure talked about the importance of hard work, noting that it took years of practice for her to become the champion swimmer that she is now. “I decided I loved swimming at a young age,” said Treasure. “But I also knew that I wanted to get better, stronger and faster. That meant lots of hard work and practice.”
Blues Swimmer inspires youth during Black History Month Nearly 300 students at Dewson Street Public School got a special treat on February 27 when Varsity Blues swimmer Vanessa Treasure made a special appearance at their Black History Month assembly. Joined by their parents and teachers, the students of the French immersion school gathered to honour prominent figures in Black History through dance, poetry and song. As part of the festivities, Treasure shared her experiences as a woman of colour in varsity sport. “My swimming journey began at the Mississauga Aquatics Club,” said Treasure. “There were no other Black or mixed race swimmers there, but I never really gave that much thought. In swimming, all that matters is who gets their hand on the wall first.” Using her personal flotation device (PFD) as a metaphor, Treasure talked
PHOTOs/ Yucheng Zhang
to the students about the importance of passion, fun and determination in achieving her goals. Holly Andrews, a technical support analyst at the University of Toronto, sees some of her own experiences in Treasure’s story. Holly and her sister Diana Andrews, a grade one teacher at Dewson Street Public School and organizer of this year’s Black History event, were both competitive swimmers in high school. Like Treasure, neither saw many women of colour represented in the pool. It was Holly who suggested that Treasure speak at the Black History assembly. “The students at Dewson Street Public School come from diverse heritages and backgrounds, and stand to benefit by seeing Black competitive swimming champions like Vanessa,” said Holly. “She has overcome adversity to excel in
In addition to maintaining her schoolwork, the fifth-year kinesiology student practices 10 times a week, sometimes twice daily. Throughout her career with the Blues, Treasure’s tenacity has certainly paid off: she was named an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) all-Canadian in her rookie year. In both the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons, Treasure swept the individual medley events at the OUA swimming championships, earning two Dr. Jeno Tihanyi swimming awards and the title OUA female swimmer of the year. In 2011 she competed at the 2011 Summer Universiade Games in Shenzhen, China. In 2014-15, Treasure won the Dr. Clara Benson Honour Award and was named female T-Holders’ athlete of the year. While her list of achievements may seem intimidating, Treasure maintains that success is attainable to anyone willing to work toward their goals. She finished her presentation with a word of encouragement to the audience of eager students. “No matter who you are, where you are from or the colour of your skin, you can do anything you set your mind to. Just remember to apply your PFD— passion, fun and determination—to everything that you do and you’ll surely stay afloat!” — AH
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Olympic superstar trains at UofT There’s nothing like getting a little international recognition. And this January, two of the University of Toronto’s biggest assets were sought out by a superstar athlete and his team of advisers. Cesar Cielo, Olympic record holder and Brazil’s golden boy of swimming, was in Toronto as part of a 2015 Pan Am tourism group. Together with members of the Brazilian men’s gymnastics team, he toured the city and many of the facilities that will be hosting Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games this summer. But regardless of his whirlwind trip to Toronto, it was time for Cielo to get back into the pool, having just enjoyed a small break in his training. The most successful swimmer in Brazilian history needed not only a high performance facility to train in, but a high performance coach to help him too. That’s why he came straight to U of T.
“When Cesar’s team was looking for somewhere to practice, they reached out to Canadian Olympic gold medalist rower Marnie McBean,” said MacDonald. “Marnie immediately contacted me and we arranged to have him come train here at the University.” Swimming alongside the Varsity Blues men’s and women’s swimming teams, Cielo looked to MacDonald for guidance as he took to the water. “I wasn’t as good because I’m just getting back in the water,” said Cielo. “But I was excited to swim with a group again and do a little bit of a sprint – it was fun and they seem like a good group. They’re very dedicated, so it helps with the workout.” As for the varsity athletes, it was clear that they were thrilled to be swimming beside a world-renowned Olympic champion.
“He stood up and did a few dive races with our guys, which of course was a great experience and incredible treat,” said MacDonald. “Working out and racing with the world record holder and Olympic champion was really fun.” Having one of the top swimmers in the world choose to use U of T’s facilities and train with MacDonald speaks volumes about the University’s international reputation. One of Canada’s most decorated university coaches, MacDonald has led over 200 swimmers to all-Canadian status and over 70 swimmers to international teams. He has been voted CIS and OUA Coach of the Year a total of 35 times and is a two-time winner of a Gemini Award for his CBC coverage of swimming at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He will also be the swimming commentator for this year’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. — Sarah Ryeland
Bench bosses receive provincial, national honours Head coaches Byron MacDonald, Kristine Drakich and Carl Georgevski received coach of the year honours this spring. After an impressive season in which both the men’s and women’s swimming teams won provincial titles, head swimming coach Byron MacDonald was named Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s and women’s coach of the year on February 7. MacDonald has earned this honour a total of 21 times during his 36-year career with the Varsity Blues and this year marks his second consecutive season as top coach in the province. One of Canada’s most decorated university coaches, MacDonald, along with assistant coach Linda Kiefer, has led the Blues to 45 provincial and 17 national titles. Drakich, head coach for the women’s volleyball team, received provincial recognition on February 18 when she was named OUA coach of the year for the second consecutive season. It is the eighth time Drakich has earned this achievement in her 26-year coaching career with the Blues. On February 25, Drakich received national recognition for the first time when she was named the Marilyn Pomfret coach of the year at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) awards gala. Georgevski picked up both provincial and national honours this season. He won the Sue Wise women’s track and field coach of the year award for the third time in his career (2004, 1998), and was later named CIS coach of the year. Under his guidance, the Blues won a team gold medal at the OUA championships, their first since 2004, and went on to win their fourth national title in program history at the 2015 CIS championships in March. “Carl, Kristine, Byron, and Linda are fine examples of the outstanding coaches we have here at the University of Toronto,” said Beth Ali, director of intercollegiate and high performance sport. “They are committed to the high performance athletic development of the student-athlete. Their dedication and continued contributions to the Varsity Blues program is unrivaled and we are proud of their outstanding accomplishments.” —AH
Long-time Blues coach inducted to national Hall of Fame Former Blues track and field coach Andy Higgins will be inducted into Athletics Canada’s Hall of Fame on July 24. Higgins will be honoured at Athletic Canada’s Alumni Gala, which will celebrate the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. Higgins helped establish the U of T track club in 1971 and created a women’s program in 1974. He coached at U of T until 1995, during which time he led the Blues to 21 OUA titles, six CIS championships and 21 national cross-country team medals. Higgins has coached Team Canada at the Olympic Games, World Championships, FISU Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games.
PHOTOs/Top/Martin BazyL/Bottom/KPE Archive
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
50-years on: Celebrating Canada’s entry into the World Universiade Games
When Canada’s women’s hockey squad arrived in Granada, Spain, for the 27th World Universiade Games in February, they knew they’d be facing very tough competition on a rough ice surface. Canada had racked up a 22-0 record since joining the hockey component of the tournament, held annually by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Russia arrived with a team that included eight Sochi Olympic veterans. “Russia was definitely the hardest team,” observes Team Canada goalie Nicole Kesteris, a 22-yearold human geography major and all-Canadian with the Varsity Blues. “But Japan gave us quite a scare.”
By the end of the games, Russia came away with gold, but Kesteris and her teammates – university athletes from across Canada – went home with not just silver, but also a taste of international competition, as well as their Team Canada jerseys. “We were treated like we were actually national level athletes,” says Kesteris, who this spring received [her second] Marion Hilliard Award celebrating excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement. She describes the experience as “the next best thing” to making the Olympic team. “I had a lot of fun.” Formally established in 1949, the FISU winter and summer games have served, for generations of university and
Key facts about the Summer Universiade (SU)* • 12 days of sports competitions • More than 9,000 student-athletes and officials from over 170 countries • T he only summer multi-sport event in the world that connects students at both academic and athletic levels *FISU website 22
collegiate athletes, as a kind of precursor to the Olympics, and an opportunity to gain a first taste of serious international competition. For decades, U of T has played a leading role on Canadian FISU teams, sending numerous athletes, including Olympians like Bill Crothers, Abby Hoffman and Professor Bruce Kidd, current principal and vicepresident of U of T Scarborough. U of T’s tradition of participation, as well as its high performance programs, play a significant role in recruiting talented athletes, says director of intercollegiate and high performance sport Beth Ali, who served as Team Canada’s chef de mission for the 2011 FISU summer games in Ezrum, a remote town in Turkey. Besides the sports, that gathering required determined efforts by both visiting teams and the hosts to bridge a wide cultural divide. Ali points out that U of T’s FISU-oriented training program offers all sorts of opportunities for aspiring sports managers and coaches who accompany the teams. PHOTOs/ Robert Kesteris
Canada’s involvement with FISU traces back to a 1964 proposal by Doug Ward, a former president of the U of T Students Administrative Council (precursor to the U of T Students’ Union) who was active at the time in national student politics. He pitched Kidd, who’d run for Canada at the 1964 Olympics in Japan, and other student leaders on a plan that would see Canada’s national student group apply to join FISU. As Kidd recounts, “FISU was the only international student body where national unions from the West could talk to national unions from the Soviet bloc.” When the Canadian athletes arrived at their first FISU games in Budapest in 1965, they almost didn’t get in to the opening ceremonies because they hadn’t had enough funding to buy uniforms. Crothers, nevertheless, went on to win gold in the 800 metres and was so thrilled by the experience that he bought an armful of flowers and handed them out to passersby on Budapest’s central square. It wasn’t all gratifying, however. Kidd and his group were discouraged to learn that the FISU general assembly didn’t put much faith in student delegates. “The majority of national representatives at FISU were university athletic directors or professional sports administrators, a generation older than us, like the then FISU president Primo Nebiolo,” he recalls; there were only a few student leaders of national student associations. Indeed, Kidd and other activists came home and ended up fighting tough battles in the coming years with Canada’s national university sports federation to ensure that student athletes, and women in particular, were properly represented in the governance bodies.
Two generations later, there could still be more student athlete involvement with Canada’s FISU teams and Canadian Interuniversity Sport, Kidd argues. “Instead of two votes from each university at CIS meetings, one male and one female administrative representative, there should be four votes from each university, including one elected male and one elected female athlete.” Quite apart from these simmering governance issues, Canada and leading Ontario universities in particular may now have a new opportunity to engage with this international event. Through the FISU’s 66-year history, Canada has only hosted one Universiade games– Edmonton in 1983. Until this summer’s Pan Am /Parapan Am Games, U of T and Toronto didn’t have the facilities. But that picture has changed. Perhaps, Kidd muses, the universities in the GTA and Hamilton region should get together and put in a bid to host FISU. “It may be an interesting question to bring back.” — John Lorinc
Celebrating Excellence Hundreds of athletes came together to celebrate another great year for the Blues at the annual athletic banquet on March 29. Athletes* recognized for standout performances include: Athletes of the Year Eli Wall, Swimming T-Holders’ Award, Male Michael Chapman, Water Polo Frank Pindar Award, Male Sasha Gollish, Track and Field T-Holders’ Award, Female
Breanna Gadzosa, Water Polo Frank Pindar Award, Female
The 2015 Summer Universiade will take place in Gwangju, Korea. As press time, eight members of the UofT Varsity Blues have been confirmed to compete for Team Canada: • Eli Wall (men’s swimming) • Kylie Masse (women’s swimming) • Lukas MacNaughton and Kilian Elikinson (men’s soccer) • Charlotte Sider and Jennifer Neilson (women’s volleyball) • James Turner (track and field) • Gabriela Stafford (track and field)
Rookies of the Year Oliver Strazynski, Swimming Kylie Masse, Swimming
Clara Benson Award Vanessa Treasure, Swimming
George M. Biggs Award Mario Kovacevic, Soccer *(Pictured left to right, top to bottom)
PHOTOs/ Martin Bazyl/ Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Blues host inaugural Strength and Conditioning Summit The Varsity Blues athletics program hosted the inaugural Toronto International Strength and Conditioning Summit in April at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The event, the first of its kind in the country, welcomed more than 100 attendees from across North America. Participants included practitioners, researchers and individuals working in the field of strength and conditioning and personal training. â€œThere are some great single-day, single-speaker events available in Canada, but most Canadian coaches have to travel to the U.S. or further abroad for conferences that are relevant and useful to their practice. Our goal was to create an opportunity by which to expose local coaches to a series of world-class experts, over multiple days,â€? said Adrian Lightowler, lead organizer of the event and Varsity Blues strength and conditioning head coach.
Speakers covered a range of topics, including injury prevention, human physiology, post-exercise recovery and the psychological effects of group training. Chris Dalcin, renowned Olympic strength and conditioning coach, delivered a presentation and led a panel discussion on strength training in international and Olympic sports. Mike Young, also a veteran strength and conditioning coach for elite athletes, discussed approaches to coaching in team and private environments. Cassandra Forsythe, a professor from the University of Connecticut and advocate for female coaches, participated in a panel discussion about improving gender equity in the field. One of the highlights of the weekend was a collaborative talk delivered by Professors Tyson Beach and David Frost who presented groundbreaking research on screening and training for injury prevention.
SPOTLIGHT ON: INTRAMURAL SPorts
Jack of all trades Master of many
Back in his first year, kinesiology student Kenlyee Merritt received some sound advice from one of his professors: “try new things.” Throughout his academic career, the Trinidad native has taken this phrase to heart. He’s added a host of intramural programming to his agenda, including indoor and outdoor soccer, flag football, Ultimate and volleyball. “My friends nicknamed me the Energizer Bunny,” Merritt laughs. “I just keep going and going!” With a hectic schedule that includes seven courses, serving as co-deputy on the KPE Athletic Association, competing with the Varsity Blues rowing team and coaching the girls’ football team at his high school (a team he helped to create), Merritt enjoys the break that intramural sports affords him. “Each sport I play takes place on a different day, so I always have something to look forward to,” explains Merritt. “My favourite sport is flag football. It helps me practice the tips I give to the team I coach. Intramurals are a friendly, less competitive atmosphere where I don’t have to be so intense all the time.” Mostly a track and field athlete back in Trinidad, Merritt’s venturesome spirit was piqued by the variety of intramural sports available—U of T has 44 of them to choose from. “There is a range of sports for everyone! I joined volleyball and Ultimate because they were new to me. Friends brought me along to those sports. Since then, I’ve played pretty much everything!”
Besides offering a chance to make friends and try new sports, intramurals give Merritt the opportunity to build his leadership skills. Inspired by upper-year students who mentored him in his first year, Merritt later served on the Intramural Sports Council, which includes representatives from all colleges, faculties and divisions on St. George campus. In March, he was recognized by Dean Ira Jacobs at the Dean’s Student Leadership Awards, where he received a McCutcheon Award for his valuable contributions to athletics and recreation programs. “Getting involved helps me feel a stronger connection to the Faculty,” Merritt says. “There is a real family atmosphere here that I love. It’s also nice to get to know people outside of my program.” Merritt also received the David Breech Award this year, which the intramural Coed Sports Committee gives to a graduating intramural athlete who demonstrates the most leadership, sportsmanship and performance during their time at U of T. These accolades, along with the five intramural championships his teams have won over the years, are accomplishments that Merritt will reflect on with pride long after convocation. But he notes that his most valuable takeaways from the intramural program are the ones he cannot display in a trophy case. “It’s fun being in a team atmosphere. Whether you win or lose, that feeling of accomplishing something as a team is enough,” Merritt says. “Intramurals makes me happy. I get to be active, have fun and live my passion for sport. It’s not about the material things you win; it’s about the intangible skills you gain.” –AH
Do you have a favourite intramural story? Send your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO/ JOel Jackson
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Taking a stand By Adrienne Harry
The literature is astounding: Canadians are sitting too often and it’s wreaking havoc on our health. But how can the average working Canadian reduce their sitting time in a sedentary work environment? Professor Guy Faulkner is leading an intervention called Rise @ Work that may offer solutions. Janine Omran, a first year masters student and program administrator for the study, talks to Pursuit's Adrienne Harry about ways to combat the sitting disease.
Pursuit: Tell us about the Rise @ Work program Janine Omran: Rise @ Work is a web-based intervention
designed for people in the workplace. Participants are given a pedometer, create an online account and monitor their steps daily for 11 weeks. Throughout the program, they are exposed to different evidence-based strategies that we know will help increase and maintain physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour. P: What is the harm in sitting? Is it really as bad as they say?
JO: Sitting has a detrimental effect on mental and physical health and increases risk for chronic diseases. The workplace is a breeding space for sitting time. Between sitting during the commute to and from the office and sitting in front of a workstation, many people sit for seven to eight hours at a time. There is evidence suggesting that taking a break every 30 minutes has health benefits. A really cool feature of the Rise @ Work program is the “Take a Stand” app, which reminds participants to take a break and stand up every 30 minutes. P: What are some ways to reduce sitting time without disrupting work? JO: Try to sneak standing or walking into your day. For
instance, take a walking meeting instead of a sitting meeting. Instead of sending an email, take a walk to or with the person you’re trying to reach. Use a standing desk at your workstation.
P: How can employers encourage a more physical work environment? JO: There’s a lot of research on the effects of physical activity and employee absenteeism. Workplaces that incorporate physical activity into their structure, with employee gym memberships, for instance, have reduced absenteeism. Challenge the idea that we need to be sitting to be focused. There is a stigma that you can’t really stand up during meetings, or that too much movement is distracting. Take that away! Encourage colleagues to move around. Give them access tools like the “Take a Stand” app. Build movement into the work environment; that would definitely help out. P: What if I'm simply too busy to head to the gym? JO: What we’re trying to do with the Rise @ Work program is simply reduce sitting time. When you tell somebody “we want you to increase your physical activity to 150 minutes per week,” the typical reaction is “oh, I can’t do that!” It seems like a daunting task. But when you set a more modest goal, like reducing your sitting time a little each day, it seems like a more feasible option.
Each person is different and has a different schedule. Create an action plan that works for you, like getting off the bus a stop earlier, or riding your bike to work rather than taking the bus. Action planning is a significant predictor of increasing steps. Planning small adjustments will keep you up and active!
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
THE BIG PICTURE U of T and the Pan Am Games
Illustrated by Karsten Petrat
Toronto will spring to life this summer when the Pan Am Games arrive in the GTA. U of T will be at the centre of much of the action showcasing our facilities to athletes, coaches and sports enthusiasts from around the world. 1.
Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport: Volleyball training
Back Campus Fields: Field hockey, football 5-a-side and 7-a-side
Varsity Stadium: Archery, para archery
UTSC Aquatic Centre: Swimming, diving and synchronized swimming, para swimming
UTSC Tennis Centre: Wheelchair tennis
UTSC Field House: roller speed skating, seated volleyball, Modern pentathlon
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
PHOTO/ Joel Jackson
MIND GAMES By Valerie Iancovich
PHOTOGRAPHY BY John Hryniuk
How hosting Pan Am on home turf may impact Toronto athletes
Field hockey standout Amanda Woodcroft has sacrificed a lot for her sport. She’s moved across the country, altered her academic ambitions and logged countless hours on the field and in the gym. Her efforts culminate this June as she vies for a chance to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games. As a former OUA Rookie of the Year and top player on the CIS silver-medalwinning Varsity Blues team, there’s a good chance her name will be on the back of a red and white jersey this summer. Canada’s field hockey team will compete in Woodcroft’s backyard—University of Toronto’s Back Campus fields, where she has proven her merits time and again. Woodcroft and her fellow Toronto athletes will have their work cut out for them this summer, competing in familiar environments under the watchful eye of local media, family and friends. According to Professors Catherine Sabiston and Katherine Tamminen, the experience will make for a complex emotional mix.
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“Training towards mindfulness can really help an athlete in a home turf environment.” — Catherine Sabiston
Assessing the Hype As the Games draw closer, competitors will fine tune their training regimes and habits. “Athletes, coaches and support staff often focus on the details of the workouts, practice drills, and physical performance benchmarks, but there is little focus on the mental side of sport, and that’s the stuff that can really make or break a competition,” says Sabiston, who specializes in sport and exercise psychology. If Woodcroft makes the Canadian team she’ll have the advantage of having competed on the world stage before. She’s represented Canada at the Junior World Cup, two Indoor Pan American Cups and the Outdoor Pan American Cup, to name just a few. But being a hometown athlete at an international event will present unique challenges. “If the Pan Am Games is the biggest event on home turf that you’ve been a part of, obviously you don’t know how you will react until you get in that moment,” Sabiston acknowledges. “But mentally training for that and appraising the hype and the arousal of it all as positive and letting it be a motivator, not a stressor, is the best mental exercise you can do. Training towards mindfulness can really help an athlete in a home turf environment.”
Home Field Advantage Once they wrap their minds around the scale of the competition, Toronto athletes can breathe a sigh of relief that many of the logistical challenges that accompany international competition will be non-issues for them. “Researchers find that the most stressful things that athletes encounter in competition are usually the things that are unexpected,” says Tamminen who has conducted extensive research on athlete coping and emotion. “If you’re competing in your home territory, in a familiar environment, that can reduce a number of unexpected stressors.” Toronto athletes will be able to focus more exclusively on their performances, knowing that they don’t have to worry about simple day-to-day things like negotiating travel times, navigating streets and venue locations, changes to their diets and adapting to new times zones. “That sense of comfort could really help our athletes,” Tamminen explains.
The venues themselves can also add a feeling of comfort for Woodcroft and other local athletes. “They know the facilities are great,” Sabiston says. “Many have had the chance to use them. They have the environment on their side.” High performance athletes who don’t train in these kinds of state-of-the-art venues may feel intimidated by the Pan Am facilities. “It can be tough [competing in a new space],” Woodcroft admits. “It’s good if we get to use to the field before a competition. There can be an initial shock if the stadium is bigger than we’re used to.” The standout midfielder is excited to show off the Back Campus fields, which were revitalized in preparation for the Games. “The new fields are awesome. The first time I was on them I was amazed by the atmosphere. It’s such a beautiful part of campus. And then the fields themselves are world class.” Sabiston says Woodcroft’s pride in her environment will help her to excel. “Rather than walking through someone else’s doors, Toronto athletes are inviting people through theirs and that can be a very prosperous environment for success.” A familiar competition atmosphere will also be advantageous to the many athletes who use imagery to prepare for competition—picturing themselves scoring the winning goal or executing the perfect routine. Sabiston points out that knowing your space well allows these visual images to come to mind more clearly. “It’s to an athlete’s advantage to work with imagery and to take advantage of being familiar with the environment ahead of time. If you are travelling somewhere else, you can imagine yourself, but it can be hard when you can’t imagine your surroundings.” She points out that this technique can take as much practice as some of the physical work. “Athletes should start this visualization training as early as possible. Imagery can help bring them to a level of optimal performance.” Woodcroft has her own techniques for getting mentally prepared for a big match. “I picture myself beating the opponents. I usually select three points that I want to be the focus for that specific game or practice. I also get in a mindset that no matter who I am competing against I am going to win each and every battle and be better than the person I’m up against.”
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Sabiston says this is a common concern for hometown athletes. “The pressure can work in your favour because you’re pumped up and ready to go, but it can also be an added stress to look good in front of your home fans. That’s probably the biggest downside—that added pressure.” This anxiety can escalate even higher with the increased profile that comes with interest from local media. “You’re suddenly more recognizable,” explains Sabiston. “There will be so much more attention on you because of all of the profiles on home athletes. You can’t fly under the radar as much.”
Hometown Pressure It may seem that competing in an international sporting competition in a familiar environment would serve as a universal benefit for all local athletes. But when an athlete looks out into a sea of unfamiliar faces and sees their mother’s teary, proud eyes or a best friend’s fist pump, the moment can be intense. And not all competitors will find that intimate support helpful. When Woodcroft is at an international competition, the butterflies in her
stomach flutter as soon as ‘Oh Canada’ erupts from the loudspeakers. On home turf though, a few butterflies can feel like a swarm when so many familiar eyes are looking on. “It will be different because when the national anthem is on and I look out into the crowd, all my family and friends will be there,” says Woodcroft. “I feel as though this adds to the pressure because I want to do well in front of them. I’ll have to make sure that I’m still focused on what my role is for the game, and not let outside distractions get in the way.”
Woodcroft hasn’t had to cope with media attention very much leading up to these Games, but she’s not fazed by the potential spotlight. “I don’t think the media attention will be a concern for me. I’m not a hundred percent sure about what to expect. But I believe I’ll be able to block it out of my mind during the Games.” In addition to attention from local reporters, competing on the fields of the U of T campus means performing in front of the community Woodcroft knows well. She says she’s felt a lot of support from U of T and that her peers are very interested in the Games. “Having my friends and family there
Professors Catherine Sabiston (left) and Katherine Tamminen (right).
“The new fields are awesome. The first time I was on them I was amazed by the atmosphere. It’s such a beautiful part of campus. And then the fields themselves are world class.”
“Just perceiving that their family and friends are there if the athletes need them can be useful in generating positive emotions and decreasing stress.” — Katherine Tamminen will definitely be a source of support. I’m excited to show people that all of the hard work has paid off and that we’re there for a reason.” Yet, Sabiston cautions athletes about feeling as though they need to prove anything to their friends and close supporters. “It’s more about being in the moment and being proud of that moment no matter how you perform on home turf in front of your people.” Tamminen points out that focusing on the positive emotions associated with having friends and family engaged in the competition is beneficial. “Just perceiving that their family and friends are there if the athletes need them can be useful in generating positive emotions and decreasing stress.”
From a coach’s perspective, there are risks associated with an athlete being in such close proximity to their friends and family, according toTamminen. “Many [coaches] will encourage athletes competing on home turf to live in the athletes’ village or at a hotel. They might even say that they shouldn’t talk to family and friends. They limit the interactions the athletes have to limit the distractions.” Woodcroft plans to stay in the athletes’ village if she makes the team. “Whenever we are at an international competition our team always stays together,” she explains. Tamminen and Sabiston say this could work to the team’s advantage, to try to keep the routines around these Games consistent with previous high-profile competitions further afield.
Balancing act Consistency is important for athletes dealing with pre-game jitters. In order to deliver the best performance possible, many sport psychology consultants advise finding a balance between feeling anxious and feeling relaxed. “We talk about this all the time, in our field,” says Sabiston. “You can be too comfortable. You need to know, for example, if living at home and having your parents make you breakfast before you compete will make you too relaxed. You need to reflect on that.” A healthy amount of stress can provide an edge if athletes build up the positive emotions associated with all of the excitement and downplay the negative thoughts and feelings.
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“I remember at one game back in first year, I was exhausted and my teammate just showed me her wrist. It said, ‘believe’ And just seeing that helped.” — Amanda Woodcroft
“In sport psychology today, there is an emphasis on exploring how to promote positive emotions, instead of just studying how to reduce anxiety and stress,” Tamminen explains. “The theory is called ‘broaden and build.’ When we experience these positive emotions, it can lead to improved performance.” Putting this theory into practice can lead to higher motivation, more focused attention, and better problem solving skills— all excellent resources for an athlete to call upon when the pressure’s on to perform in front of the hometown crowd. To allow these positive emotions to flourish, Sabiston advises that athletes listen to their internal dialogue leading up to a major competition and include training techniques to help silence any harsh, unproductive thoughts. “Positive self-talk can be very motivating and helpful. Sometimes that means reframing what you’re saying to yourself. If an athlete is saying negative things during training, for example, we could have them write something like the word ‘stop’, on their hand, so that every time they see that message it serves as a prompt.” They may also opt to write positive messages to themselves on post-it notes or on the screens of their phones. “Those are reminders that
get athletes closer to that mindfulness” Woodcroft says her teammates often have these pseudo tattoos inscribed on their arms. “I remember at one game back in first year, I was exhausted and my teammate just showed me her wrist. It said, ‘believe’ And just seeing that helped.”
Game Face When the big day arrives, Tamminen says the best thing Woodcroft and her teammates can do is stick to their tried-and-true traditions. “At these major competitions, athletes’ days are so structured and organized. They should do what they always do in terms of training and practice and keep that as structured and normal as possible.” She advises against implementing any new strategies at the last minute. Woodcroft is accustomed to maintaining a regimented pre-game ritual. “We usually arrive at the field approximately 30 minutes before warm up. We will go to our change room and play our music. Right before warm up we usually play one more song to get everyone pumped up and ready for the game and then we walk out to our bench.” After a tight group huddle, one teammate will remind the squad what their focus should be; they take a collective deep breath and hit the field.
Games Over After months of anticipation, intense physical and mental training, it can seem like the finish lines are crossed and final points are tallied all too quickly, leaving athletes with an array of emotions— from relief, to elation to despondency. “It’s not uncommon to hear that after the Olympics or another big event, athletes may feel a bit blue or glum; there was such a buildup, so now what?” Tamminen explains. Of course, how the athletes perform will play a major role in how they feel after their Pan Am performance. If they do well, they can relax and celebrate—with so many of their family and friends around, it will be especially festive. But that celebratory spirit could be salt in the wound for a disappointed athlete. “It could, again, feel like a double-edged sword to be in their hometown,” says Tamminen. “They might feel more let down because it happened on home turf, but they may also feel more supported because they have family and friends around them.” If a Toronto athlete is unhappy with their Pan Am performance, Tamminen advises that they try to embrace the sense of comfort that comes from being at home. “If the Games are still going on, they can distract themselves from what happened at their event by cheering for teammates or other Canadian athletes. There are other local opportunities to deal with a disappointing performance.”
Tamminen’s research shows that athletes who are unhappy with their finishes and distance themselves or withdraw tend to report more negative outcomes in those moments and days following the event. “They say it took them a while to realize just how supportive their friends and family were around them. That’s one of the benefits of this home turf advantage— just having those people around you for support is a privilege that a lot of other Pan Am athletes won’t have.” This support is already coming out in spades for Woodcroft. Her little sister Nicki is a fellow Blue and huge supporter and her parents are her biggest fans. “My mom is always there watching me!” she says. Her dad, Chris, a former Olympic wrestler and Pan Am medalist, couldn’t be more proud. At the end of May, Woodcroft and her team hosted a series of matches against Ireland to prepare for the Games and her parents made their way from Waterloo to cheer her on. “They’d never seen me play for Team Canada before. They were so excited!” For all the ups and downs Woodcroft could face this summer when Toronto hosts the Pan Am Games, it seems that nothing, not even her home turf, will give her quite the same boost as the one she’ll get from hearing the sound of the hometown crowd cheering.
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The ONES TO WATCH
University of Toronto will be well represented at the Toronto 2015 Games. Below is a glimpse at some of the past and current KPE and varsity student-athletes who are either vying or have already qualified for a spot on Team Canada*.
PHOTOS/ Martin Bazyl, Aric GuitĂŠ, John Hryniuk, Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve, Sandy Nicholson, Seed 9 and Provided By The athletes
*As of press time.
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PHOTOS/ Martin Bazyl, Aric GuitĂŠ, John Hryniuk, Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve, Sandy Nicholson, Seed 9 and Provided By The athletes
Sources/ Swim Canada And Varsity Blues.ca
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Can hosting the Pan Am Games make Toronto a healthier city? By Valerie Iancovich
This summer, thousands of and financing of Toronto 2015’s “These Games have provided an the world’s top athletes will major facilities—both new descend on Toronto to compete incredible opportunity for innovative builds and renovations. “While in the Pan Am and Parapan 56 percent of the funds came city planning to improve the health of from the federal and provincial Am Games, showcasing not only athletic prowess, but all of our citizens.”– Peter Donnelly governments through Toronto the dynamic and thriving 2015, the local municipalities City of Toronto. According and universities that got these to organizers, a key priority of TO2015 is to “foster sport facilities had to come up with the other 44 percent,” Kidd development and healthy living.” Professor Peter Donnelly explains, citing the Back Campus fields on St. George campus says there are plenty of opportunities for international as an example. “The financial stake of local partners increases games to create a legacy of health for a host city. But it’s up to the chance that there will be a voice for ‘sport for all’ in the Toronto to make it happen. facilities after the Games.” Given his role at UTSC, Kidd is especially committed to realizing the full potential of the “First of all, a legacy [of health and increased physical new athletic facilities on that campus. “I can tell you that activity] needs to be constructed into the bid, with a plan my colleagues and I are determined to use the Toronto Pan clearly set for putting that money to use,” Donnelly explains. Am Sports Centre to make UTSC one of the most physical “If it’s not there, once you’ve won the bid, everything is activity supportive and healthy campuses in North America.” about getting ready for the games.” Professor Bruce Kidd, vice-president and principal of University of Toronto Beyond U of T’s borders, Donnelly says decisions made about Scarborough, sees the same trend. “Very few major games the waterfront development can play a huge role in making hosts have given much thought to stimulating broad Torontonians more active. Transforming the athletes’ village participation after, as a result, of the games. In fact, the track to create affordable housing, and increasing access to the lake, record is extremely disappointing. But I’m hopeful that we could have a major impact. Improving parks and trail systems can do a better job in Toronto.” for the Games will also help to establish a healthier future. “If the city completes the Pan Am Path plan, for example, I think Donnelly, who spearheads U of T’s Centre for Sport Policy that could be a terrific legacy,” he says. While part of the Pan Studies, points to the London Olympics as an example of Am Path is scheduled to open before the Games, the entire good intentions that fell by the wayside. Organizers of the path is slated for completion by 2017. A series of connected 2012 Olympics vowed that the Games would ‘inspire a trails that will create 84 kilometres of pathways for active generation.’ “It was all about increasing participation in the transport, cultural enrichment and community building, the UK. That was part of their bid; they put a little funding into path will ultimately extend from the Claireville Reservoir to school sports for a while. There were a couple of experiments just south of Rouge Park. around opening access to swimming pools,” Says Donnelly. Over time though, enthusiasm waned. “The Games ended up “These Games have provided an incredible opportunity for costing so much, the money got pulled from those initiatives. innovative city planning to improve the health of all of our Funding needs to be built in as absolute.” citizens; it’s the first major games to come to Ontario since 1930,” Donnelly says. “I hope we are able to make the most of it.” Donnelly says that plans at the newly-built UTSC pools have established a good framework for long-term results. “The For Kidd, the real test is what we achieve on a sustainable use agreement is really good. It’s for high performance; it’s basis by 2020. “We will have to work very hard in the months for UTSC students and it’s for the community.” Kidd is also and years after the Games to ensure that our dreams for optimistic because there has been local buy-in to the planning equitable sport for all will be realized.”
Illustration / Karsten Petrat
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
We Have the gear. Do you have the drive?
Proud Sponsor of the Varsity BlueS â€˘ Ordering for your team? Ask in store for details Varsity Sports Store Athletic Centre â€˘ 55 Harbord St Toronto ON M5S 2W6 (416)-977-8220
Hours of Operation Monday - Friday Saturday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hockey family gives back
O’Hanlan to lead final phase of Goldring campaign By John Lorinc
Not long after Patrick O’Hanlan and his family moved from Dublin to Toronto, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. It was 1967, and Patrick was six. “My uncles were going crazy,” chuckles the 55-year-old co-founder of Kylemore Communities/ Angus Glen Developments. Enthralled by this fast-paced Canadian game that captivated his relatives, O’Hanlan took up hockey and later soccer, and played both competitively throughout high school and university. After graduating with an urban planning degree from Ryerson, Patrick jumped to the private sector, working for Bramalea and then Camrost-Felcorp before setting up his own development firm, Kylemore Communities. In 1995, O’Hanlan was introduced to U of T alumnus, Gordon Stollery. It was a fateful introduction. The two decided to develop land around a Markham golf course (Angus Glen), and struck up a close friendship – a one which ultimately resulted in O’Hanlan’s recent decision to chair the final phase of the fundraising campaign for the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. O’Hanlan took on the role in January, in honour of Stollery, who passed away three years ago and had been an early supporter of the vision for the new facility. “We are very pleased to announce Patrick O’Hanlon as incoming campaign Chair for the Goldring Centre,” said Robin Campbell, the Faculty's executive director, advancement
PHOTO/ Lindsay Nemeth
and alumni affairs. O’Hanlan replaces Kevin Reed who completed his term in March. “We are grateful to Kevin for his work as Chair,” said Campbell. “The challenge now is to find the remaining $4 million to complete the campaign.” O’Hanlan first got involved with the Faculty during his daughter Kelly’s years playing for the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team. Both Patrick and Kelly were actively involved with fundraising for the team. Kelly played five years with the Blues and, in her father’s view, benefited greatly from the mentorship she received from Canadian women’s hockey star, Vicky Sunohara, head coach of the team. “She really saw Kelly’s potential,” Patrick recalls. Patrick has long believed in the importance of giving back to the community. His firm runs an annual golf tournament, the proceeds of which support a range of GTA charities. Modest about the impact of his fundraising efforts, the sport enthusiast marvels at the experience of how this project has brought him into contact with a wide range of like-minded community leaders and athletes who are connected to the University in various capacities. “There are so many amazing people you come across,” Patrick says. “It’s really a very cool feeling.”
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Alumni Updates Getting together
Donors help students choose their own adventure
PhD student Gillian White. White's honour was one of 54 awards celebrated March 4 at the Reception for Scholars.
When Gillian White was a child, becoming, as she affectionately calls it, a “doctor of gym class,” was not quite the future she pictured. However, as a PhD student in the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences, White is establishing a career greater than she could have imagined. Her research, which most recently has explored exercise intolerance in young bone marrow transplant recipients, earned White a Dr. Terry Kavanagh Fellowship from the Faculty. Her fellowship, along with 53 other academic awards, was celebrated March 4 at the Reception for Scholars. Over 200 students, award donors and parents attended the event, which connects donors and alumni with undergraduate and graduate students who are excelling in exercise sciences. White spoke at the gathering on behalf of the award recipients.
“The choice to pursue grad school can be a tricky one,” said White. “My greatest difficulty was that I was interested in so many aspects of exercise science: high performance sport, medicine, recovery, pediatrics. I chose grad school because I could say ‘yes’ to all of these things and have an opportunity to be creative, innovate and think critically. I get to choose my own adventure.” Members of the Ticker Club, one of the most prestigious investment organizations in Canada, added a new award to the program this year. Created in tribute to a mutual funds guru and U of T alumnus, Warren Goldring, the fellowship was established to support a PhD student conducting research in heart health. Past presidents of the Ticker Club, Robert Farquharson and Michael Graham, spearheaded the creation of the fellowship, noting Goldring’s interest in the study of exercise and its effects on heart function in athletes. Graham was
on hand to present the inaugural Warren Goldring Fellowship to PhD student Rob Lakin, who is currently researching the effects of endurance exercise on the left and right heart ventricles. “This event is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the generous alumni and friends who support our Faculty,” said Dean Ira Jacobs. “Their generosity and foresight make a profound impact on the lives of students, athletes, and the Faculty as a whole.” For White and the others, not only do the awards help financially, but they also offer a sense of validation for hard work. “Academics are a lesson in delayed gratification. There are no gold stars or pats on the head,” said White. “These awards remind me that I made the right turn. I chose the right road. Without the donors’ generous contributions…I might have picked a different adventure.”— AH
PHOTOS/ Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve
Varsity Blues Achievement Awards
On January 21, 2015 over 150 student-athletes were honoured for their academic and athletic achievement.
UPCOMING EVENTS Womenâ€™s Hockey Alumni Golf Tournament
Varsity Leadership Foundation Golf Tournament
September 19, 2015 Angus Glen Golf Club, Markham ON For more details contact Kerry Gauer at email@example.com
Annual fundraiser brought to you by the football alumni network
PHOTO/ Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve / Dan Epstein
King Valley Golf Club 15675 Dufferin St., King City ON August 10, 2015 For more information and to register visit www.bfan.ca Registration closes July 27 PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
CIS Women’s Volleyball Championship Alumni Reception Career Café On March 2, undergraduate students joined KPE alumni at the Faculty Club to gain insight into life after graduation. The Career Café invites alumni back to campus to share their career stories and mentor current students about the wide range of career options available with their KPE degrees. Thank you to the 16 alumni mentors who participated in the event this year, including motherdaughter alumni duo, Judy Chu, (PHE 8T3) and Kaitlin Chu, (KPE 1T3). Thank you also to the student volunteers who were instrumental in the planning and execution of the event. The Faculty was pleased to see the wide range of careers represented by our alumni at this event, including but certainly not limited to, emergency services, physiotherapy, kinesiology, finance, naturopathy and education. Students expressed their excitement for what the future holds as a result of their conversations with alumni mentors. The Career Café has become a much anticipated event among both students and alumni and we are grateful to TD Insurance for their support which makes this event possible through the University’s Pillar Sponsorship program. This year’s alumni mentors: Colin Campbell (0T7), Judy Chu (8T3), Kaitlin Chu (1T3), Daniel Correia (0T7), Cheryl D’Costa (9T7), Tony D’Urzo (8T2), Tony Granato (0T5), Joel Kerr (0T2), Matthew Laing (0T7), Deborah Low (8T4), Michael Luczak (1T2), Peter Mastorakos (1T2), Antonio Morale (0T3), Huy Nguyen (0T7), Steve Roest (9T2), Marlon Teekah (0T9) Are you interested in being a mentor? Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Goldring Centre of High Performance Sport hosted its inaugural championship in February bringing Canada’s top eight intercollegiate women’s volleyball teams to the Kimel Family Field House. Over 100 alumni and friends gathered to support the Varsity Blues at a reception during the team’s first match on February 26. Special mention goes to alumna Athena Gerochristodoulou (PHE 9T6, Volleyball) who travelled from Spain to be a part of the championship! The evening also featured a silent auction to raise money for the team. Thank you to the Women’s Volleyball Fund Development Committee for organizing this initiative, to the parents who donated auction items and MBNA for their sponsorship of the reception. Pictured Top Right: Head Coach Kristine Drakich presenting Athena with a plaque and certificate commemorating the induction of the 1995-1996 Women’s Volleyball Team to the U of T Sports Hall of Fame, for which Athena was team captain.
Rowing Team Ergometer Reception A milestone was made possible for the Varsity Blues rowing program this year by the generous contribution of David Harquail (Rowing, 7T9). David and his wife, Birgitta, donated sixteen rowing ergometer’s and support for the team! On March 9, alumni and current rowers came together to celebrate the installation of this essential training equipment in the Varsity Arena. Sincere thanks to David and Birgitta for making possible the program’s first dedicated training centre. Pictured: David and Birgitta Harquail celebrating the new ergometer centre with Varsity Blues staff and athletes.
Harley Pasternak Lecture and Book Launch The Faculty was thrilled to welcome back alumnus and fitness expert Harley Pasternak (MSc 0T0) for a very special first look at his new book, 5 Pounds. The book launch and lecture was held March 26. Harley shared his experiences in personal training, nutrition and working in Hollywood. Thank you to Harley for sharing this milestone with us and to Penguin Books for their partnership on this event. Pictured: Harley Pasternak and Professor Greg Wells.
Men’s Hockey Varsity Grads Foundation Reception On March 30, the Faculty hosted a group of men’s hockey alumni to celebrate a generous donation from the Varsity Grads Foundation. The group gathered at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport for an evening of celebration in which they were able to meet the team and reunite with fellow alumni. Thank you to David McCarthy for his leadership on behalf of the Foundation! The Varsity Grads continue to make a huge impact on the men’s hockey program and its ability support the players and coaching staff. The Varsity Blues community is honoured by their continued partnership. Pictured left to right: John Wright, Ken Duggan, Darren Lowe, Andre Hidi, David McCarthy
PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
Class Notes 1960s
BPHE 6T3, Swimming
HBA 0T1, Basketball
Warm congratulations go to Sheila and John Romeiko (BA 6T3) this August as they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary! The pair met in elementary school and were a couple by the time they arrived on U of T campus. In 1965, two years after graduation, they got married at Hart House – keeping their special day within the U of T community. They remain fun-loving and active to this day engaging in hiking, biking and swimming three times a week! Thank you to their daughter, Janine, for updating us on this wonderful milestone. Best wishes to Sheila and John – you are an excellent example of the physical activity values we cherish in the Faculty.
Ryan Pyle made U of T headlines this year when he came back to campus to speak about his documentary that takes viewers along with him on a 65 day, 18,000 kilometre motorcycle journey through China. Since graduation, this former Blue became a freelance photographer and started his own production company – G219 Productions – which he used to produce his film (The Middle Kingdom). Congratulations to Ryan on his internationally-recognized photo journalism and documentary work. We look forward to hearing about the next project.
Mark Williams OISE 0T7, Rowing)
BA 6T5, Track & Field
Former dean and treasured friend of the Faculty, Professor Bruce Kidd, has reached yet another career milestone with his appointment as Vice-President, University of Toronto and Principal, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Kidd was appointed for a three and a half year term, which started January 1. Kidd is UTSC’s tenth principal and will lead the campus through the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games and continue in his commitment to the tricampus sport system. The Faculty congratulates our former leader and is thrilled to have his continued presence in the University.
1990s David Scandiffio BSc 9T4, Football
David has signed on with CIBC to assume the role of President, Asset Management as of April 2015. He was formerly a Vice-President at Industrial alliance and President of IA Clarington. Congratulations to our 1993 champion football team captain who is now a champion in the financial industry!
Congratulations to Mark Williams who has recently assumed the role of head coach and director of Rowing at the Ohio State Crew Club. After graduating from U of T Mark went on to graduate studies at the University of Western Ontario where he continued his involvement in rowing as a decorated athlete and coach. Best wishes in Columbus!
Frederick “Scooter” Doty
John “Jake” Rogers
Weldon J. Thoburn
Andrea Childs BPHE 6T7
John Hugo BPHE 5T5
John “Jake” Rogers BPHE 5T5, Football
A mentor, teacher, role model and friend to many, Andrea passed away suddenly from complications following a stroke in Victoria General Hospital, BC on February 24, 2015 at the age of 70. Following a short teaching career, Andrea gave many years of enthusiastic service to the tourism industry of Ontario, as owner of Scotsman Point Resort, near Buckhorn. She left behind a legacy of caring, love for family, generosity towards others and community engagement. She will be greatly missed.
After a long career in law, John passed away in January at the age of 81. A true PHE alum, John led an active life maintaining involvement in the Toronto Racket Club, Toronto Racket Club, Lambton Golf Club, and the Cambridge Club.
Football alumni were saddened to hear of the death of their friend and teammate on April 14. Working extensively in the education field, Jake was happiest in roles in where he worked with students and athletes, coaching them in a myriad of sports and, undoubtedly, in teamwork and leadership.
Frederick “Scooter” Doty BASC 5T0, Football A WWII lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Fred was an all-star quarterback with the Varsity Blues football team after the war. He went on to play with the Toronto Argonauts – winning the Grey Cup in 1945 and 1947. When he retired from football, Fred launched a successful engineering career, reaching executive positions in Canadian Johns Manville and Dufferin Concrete Products.
Mary Oleary BPHE 6T8 After an impressive and impactful career in education, Mary passed away after the discovery of an incurable brain tumour. Upon completing her degree at U of T she began teaching with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She went on to assume the position of founding principal at Mary Ward CSS in Scarborough and superintendent of education until her retirement in 2001. Her passion for her field continued postretirement through involvement with The Angel Foundation for Learning and The Learning Partnership. Mary was recognized for her tremendous contributions to education with The Bernard Nelligan Award.
Weldon J. Thoburn BASC 6T1, MASC 6T2, PHD 6T4, Football Weldon’s football career began when he was selected as captain at the University of Toronto Schools. When he started his accomplished academic career at U of T, he joined the Varsity Blues football team and was a league all-star. He turned down an offer to play for the TigerCats to accept a scholarship to pursue graduate studies. By retirement, Weldon had worked for over 40 years in the mining industry, working and consulting for a variety of prominent Canadian and international firms and achieving election as a Fellow in The Metallurgical Society. Our condolences to family and friends. PURSUIT | SUMMER 2015
TIME OUT Game Changing Gold By Valerie Iancovich
The bleachers in The Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys were full. “Oh Canada” echoed through the Barcelona stadium. Joanne Berdan stood at the top of the podium with her Paralympic gold medal draped over her shoulders. “That moment in time, I had such an overwhelming feeling of pride—not just in myself, but in representing my country.” Berdan perceived herself as an amateur athlete who dedicated a huge portion of her time to training, not necessarily in obscurity, but certainly ‘behind the scenes.’ “And then there’s this moment in time that accumulates into this overwhelming experience. It’s why you toil so long in the background.” She says that this Barcelona gold is the heaviest medal she’s ever held. No stranger to the podium, with dozens under her belt, Berdan ought to know. The solid gold beauty is as remarkable-looking today as it was at that ceremonial celebration 23 years ago, says Berdan. The graceful Braille characters read, “Paralympics Barcelona – 92.” This was one of three gold medals the track star won at the 1992 Paralympics. These Games was a career highlight for Berdan. But it’s not just because she was such a regular at the top of the podium. “As you get older, you have more time for reflection,” Berdan muses. “I didn’t realize how many barriers we were breaking and how many changes we were making for athletes with disabilities.” The Barcelona Games marked a turning point, in her view, when para-sports were taken out of the “special interests” section of the newspapers and moved into the sports pages. “Paralympian is now part of our vernacular. It never was before,” she says, reflectively. “I’m very proud to have played a role in making that change happen.” On May 28, Berdan added another accolade to her long list of honours when she was inducted into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame. The 28-year old tradition has welcomed over 250 athletes, builders and teams; 2015 marks the first year that the University added a para-athlete into its record books. “It was a surprise to be inducted,” Berdan admits.” I am excited to be the first Paralympian inducted into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame.”
PHOTO/ Mark Ridout
REGISTER NOW SAT. AUGUST 15 CO-ED GRASS 6s rec & competitive $275/team + hst CO-ED SAND 4s advanced $200/team + hst
$1,000 SAND GRAND PRIZE! $500 second prize
SUN. AUGUST 16
YOUTH CLINIC 10-13 years, boys and girls $20/participant YOUTH GRASS 4s girls u15 & co-ed u18 $50/team Tournament proceeds will support new amenities at The Courts, and U of T Volleyball. Youth clinic lead by University of Toronto’s KRISTINE DRAKICH
photo: Jing-Ling Kao-Beserve
CIS & OUA Coach of the Year Director and Coach of Canada’s Top University Beach Volleyball Program
for more information and to register
15-16, 2015 THE COURTS at S.E.R.C.
Ladies and gentlemen, please take YOUR seats. The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport is being hailed as Toronto’s newest landmark and is changing the face of research in our nation’s high performance sport community. With a dedicated centre for sport scientists and coaches to share leading-edge training methods, together with state-of-the-art training and competition spaces, Goldring is the premier sports facility in Toronto and now you can be part of its legacy. Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will have their names permanently displayed on the back of a Gold Status seat on the mezzanine floor in the Goldring Centre, overlooking the impressive 2,000-seat Kimel Family Field House that will raise basketball and volleyball competition to new heights. Don’t miss your chance to snag one of the best seats in the house.
ONLY 59 SEATS LEFT!
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Thank you for investing in the University of Toronto. Please send your donation to: Alumni Office, 55 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 2W6. The University of Toronto will acknowledge the names of the donors displayed on the seats on the mezzanine floor in the Goldring Centre for the useful life of the seating area. All donations will be acknowledged with a charitable tax receipt.
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The Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are upon us and the Faculty celebrates U of T's involvement in this special summer issue of Pur...