Representing Canada at the Olympic Games is an accomplishment that only the best of the best Canadian athletes have the opportunity to experience.
Did you know that many Mustang athletes went on to compete in the Olympics for Canada? Over 100 former Mustangs competed in the Olympic Games over the last 108 years.
Here’s a look at three Olympic sports where numerous former Mustangs have competed in.
Rowing is the Olympic sport where the majority of our Mustangs have competed in. With 44 former Mustangs representing Canada in rowing, it is not surprising that some of the big medal winners over the years have been Western alumnus.
One notable Mustang name in Olympic rowing is Silken Laumann. Laumann entered the sport of rowing at the age of 17 alongside her sister Danièle and the pair advanced to the Canadian national team. The Laumann sisters represented Canada in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles in the double sculls category were they captured a bronze medal.
Later Laumann went on to compete alone in the single sculls category and meddled in a number of World Championships and Pan-American Games. She made her second Olympic appearance in 1988 when she placed seventh in Seoul with sculls partner Kay Worthington.
Despite her many great accomplishments on the international stage, it was her appearance in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona that cemented her name in the memories of Canadians. Just 10 weeks before Laumann was set to compete, she suffered a potential career-ending injury. While training for the games in Germany in May, Laumann's shell collided with another shell and a piece of splashboard was lodged into her leg upon impact. Laumann underwent a number of operations to repair her tibia and nerve damage, and she pushed herself into rehab with hopes of keeping her Olympic gold medal dream alive.
To the surprise of many, Laumann competed in Barcelona just 10 weeks after her injury and won the bronze medal in the women's single sculls competition.
Track and Field
Twenty former Mustangs having competed in the Olympic Games in track and field, making it the second largest sport that Mustangs have made their mark on. The first Mustang to compete in the Olympics for track and field was Mel Brock who finished fourth in the 800-metre competition in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
Another sport that former Mustangs athletes have been well represented in the Olympic Games is basketball. Eleven former Mustang athletes have represented Canada in the Olympics with the first set of Mustangs competing in the sport in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.
Seven Mustangs were present on Team Canada's Roster in Finland including Chuck Dalton, Bill Pataky, Glen Pettinger, Bob Phibbs, Harry Wade and George Wearring, along with Western coach Paul Thomas. Both Patarky and Pettinger were current members of the Mustangs men's basketball team in 1952 and joined the other five former Mustangs for their debut on the Olympic stage.
Despite beating teams such as Italy, Romania and Egypt in the first round, the 1952 Canadian basketball was kept out of the semifinal round due to narrow defeats at the hands of Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines.