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Our 2012 Local Olympians
Hometown: Duncan, British Columbia
Michael Braithwaite was born in Duncan, B.C., Braithwaite is also a national Under-23 men’s singles champion. He received the 2009 Hanlan-Keller Award, the International Achievement Award and was named the 2009 Canadian University Rowing Championships Oarsman of the Year as a member of the crew at the University of Toronto. Michael’s National titles go back to 2008 where he won as a single in three consecutive years including 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Braithwaite is affiliated with the University of Toronto Rowing Club and the Maple Bay Rowing Club in his hometown of Duncan. His interests include, live music, cooking, fishing, and the Vancouver Canucks. He attended the University of Toronto and received an Honors BA, double major in Philosophy and Cognitive Science.
Braithwaite is competing at the Olympic Games in London with sculls partner Kevin Kowalyk. He won a bronze medal in the single sculls at the 2010 World University Games in Hungary and another bronze at the 2009 Under-23 World Championships in Czech Republic, which was the first medal ever for a Canadian in the single sculls at that event.
Hometown: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Some would say Tommy Gossland was born an athlete. From a young age Tommy was involved in a multitude of sports ranging from BMX to Ballroom Dancing and Hockey to Lacrosse. He started swimming at the age of 8 for Nanaimo’s White Rapids Summer Swim Club. After six successful years of swimming in the summer, he joined Nanaimo Riptides in Grade 11 to start swimming more competitively.
Tommy pursued the UBC Swim Team directly after high school and began a Kinesiology Degree in Health Sciences. Tommy swam as a Thunderbird for five years at a varsity level. Attending his first Olympic Trials at the end of his first year, he came 15th in the 50m Freestyle and 38th in the 100m Freestyle. In his second year, Tommy set a few National relay records and made the National B team. However, after 2009 he struggled to execute performances that would take him to a higher level.
In 2010 and 2011, he was tenths shy of making the A final at Pan Pacific Trials, Commonwealth Trials and World Trials, therefore ineligible to qualify for the National Team. To come so far and not advance a spot was hard to overcome, but Tommy stayed focused with one main goal in mind: to make the 2012 London Olympics.
Things started to pick up at the beginning of 2012. Tommy was named CIS Male Swimmer of the Year and earned the Sprinters Cup award after winning five gold’s and one silver at the 2012 CIS Swimming Championships. This year, during Olympic Trials in Montreal, he managed to punch his ticket for the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games as the fourth to hit the wall in 100 Freestyle. His time of 49.98 seconds gained him a spot on Canada’s National team for the 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay. He went home to collect UBC’s Big Block Award for the 2012 Bus Phillips Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year.
Hometown: Courtenay, British Columbia
Geoff Kabush grew up in Courtenay where he started mountain biking around age 15. Like many athletes Geoff grew up playing other sports such as basketball and soccer in high school as well. Geoff attended the University of Victoria, completing an engineering degree while competing and traveling to world cup events. At UVic he was on a development team started by Dave Smith of Sydney and coached by Yuerg Feldman of Quesnel, who is an eccentric Swiss-born fitness expert who's trained the likes of Ryder Hesjedal.
This two time Olympian competed at the Sydney and Beijing Games, has competed at World Championships, Pan-American Championships and is a three time Canadian National Cyclocross Champion. Geoff is no stranger to elite competition and is hoping his experiences can help during this year’s London Olympic Games.
Hometown: Black Creek, British Columbia
Little was known of Levins until he burst onto the scene earlier this year. Competing out of the University of Southern Utah, he began to make a name for himself when he won the 2012 North American, Central American and Caribbean Cross-Country Championships in Trinidad in March.
Levins continued his progress a month later at the Mt. Sac Relays in April, when he won the men’s 5000m event in a time of 13:18.47. This time—which surpassed his previous personal best time by 20 seconds—easily met the Olympic standard and was the fastest time recorded in U.S. collegiate athletics since 2008.
Just a week later at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, CA, he amazed everyone again. Competing in his first-ever 10,000m event, Levins won the race with the second fastest time recorded in US college history. His 27:27.46 mark easily met the Olympic standard qualifying time.
Hometown: Nanoose Bay, British Columbia
Michael Mason is a Canadian high jumper. The 2004 World Junior champion, he has represented Canada at the 2008 Summer Olympics, 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships. His personal best for the event is 2.31 metres.
He won the IAAF World Junior Championships gold medal in 2004. From Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Mason is only the second Canadian to win a World Junior Championship gold medal, following Mark Boswell who won in 1996. Mason holds a number of provincial records previously held by retired Canadian high jumper and 1976 Olympic Silver Medallist Greg Joy, including the BC high school, junior and senior records.
Following his world junior win, he set the current NAIA record and was the bronze medalist at the 2006 NACAC U-23 Championships. He jumped a personal best of 2.27 m to win the Canadian title in 2007 Canadian Senior Championships. He is a member of the Valley Royals Track and Field Club.
In 2008 Mason improved his personal best during the indoor season, to 2.30 in January in Seattle. At the 2008 World Indoor Championships he finished eighth. He made his Olympic debut a few months later at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and placed eighth in his qualifying group with a jump of 2.25 m, although he missed the final. Competing as a student-athlete, he took the silver medal in the high jump at the 2009 Summer Universiade. The year after he represented Canada at the 2010 Commonwealth Games with a seventh place finish in the final.
He cleared 2.31 m for the first time at the Baie-Mahault Grand Prix in Guadalupe, winning the event with a meet record mark.
Hometown: Courtenay, British Columbia
Martin Reader was born athletically gifted. Born and raised in the Comox Valley Martin competed in swimming, soccer, tennis, mountain biking, and basketball. He grew up loving the beach and playing volleyball, something he always excelled in.
Martin graduated from Highland Senior Secondary in French Immersion as an honor student, then went on to complete an Associate Degree at Camosun College when he started for their nationally ranked Volleyball team. After winning the BCCAA player of the year in 2004 he transferred to UBC to take Human Kinetics and play for one of the top western Canadian teams at that time, the UBC Thunderbirds.
His goal is to go finish school where he wants to specialize in human performance and work with top athletes. He inspires to use his experience as a world class athlete to advance other athletes on their quest to the top of the podium.
Hometown: Crofton, British Columbia
Emily Zurrer, an all-around athlete was born and raised in Crofton, B.C., where she attended Cowichan High School, playing rugby, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Emily was named Cowichan Junior Female Athlete of the Year and the Overall Athlete of the Year in 2003.
After graduating from Cowichan High School, Zurrer was recruited to the University of Illinois as a defender in soccer for the Fighting Ilini. Emily was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament teams in 2005,2006, 2007, she was awarded Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 where she scored 11 goals (6 game winners) and lead her team in most playing time.
Zurrer is in her fourth season with the national team having competed at the 2008 Olympic Games, and then went on to play at 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. She is a gold medalist at the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Canada, where she was named the tournament MVP.