Going for gold: Camosun’s long established links with Olympic sport
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Going for gold: Camosun’s long established links with Olympic sport

If your passion lies within the sporting realm, what do you picture as your ultimate goal? For the majority of hopeful athletes, an Olympic gold medal would mean the epitome of success, but what about those who work behind the scenes? Whether it’s athletic training, therapy or research, these are the people who spur on our champions and push them to international success.

Obviously, the path to Olympic glory is far from easy. Athletes need rigorous training, the requisite skills, appropriate facilities, and perhaps most crucially, encouragement and mentorship from associates with first-class expertise. Sport is considered a science after all; it’s not always about playing the field or even breaking a sweat. Relying on talent can only get you so far. True greatness demands absolute dedication and a solid supporting network.

Sports programs are common around the world. But it’s no surprise that Canada has some of the best and most renowned. After all, the country is consistently ranked among the top Olympic achievers, having bagged a total of 59 gold medals stretching back to 1900. Its athletes go on to become prominent coaches who impart their skills and knowledge to others around the world. Part of Canada’s success is due to the love of competition and a unique sense of achievement that’s deeply embedded in the nation’s cultural consciousness.


This noble spirit is fostered in all of Canada’s schools and universities, but with its long and illustrious links with Canada’s Olympic athletes, Camosun College, is one that particularly stands out. Located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Camosun offers a comprehensive range of programs, including those that are well-regarded in the fields of sport and exercise science. The college is particularly welcoming to international students, hosting over 1,500 overseas applicants from over 70 countries. But what makes it unique and a global leader is its partnership with the famous Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE), located at Camosun’s Interurban campus.

The CA$28-million, 117,570-square-foot facility is an athlete’s ‘home away from home’, featuring a dazzling array of state-of-the-art equipment that’s bound to impress any visitor. It boasts a floor plate that measures an athlete’s power and force in three directions, for example. It also has motion analysis systems, blood analysis machines, an environmental chamber, a high-tech video analysis suite, bio-chem areas, a regeneration/recovery room, a sport physio, rehab and medical clinic – all stellar facilities for those keen to learn the nuts and bolts of sport and the human anatomy.

It’s no wonder that PISE is a leading center for Olympic training. Canada’s Olympic hopefuls regularly practice on PISE’s CA$1-million all-weather, four-lane, 400-metre track to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Best of all, the track is open to both national-team athletes and the general public. Canada’s national and Olympic Women’s Rugby Sevens team, ranked third in the world, also does its training at PISE – another testament to the school’s world-class sports resources.


Camosun College is not merely linked to Olympic achievement by virtue of its vicinity to PISE. Current and past members of Camosun’s faculty and staff have deep links with the Olympic Games.

A good example of this is Charles Parkinson, who is the head coach of Camosun’s Chargers men’s volleyball team and a faculty member of the college’s Centre for Sport and Exercise Education. Parkinson has been a play-by-play commentator at four Olympic Games, and the upcoming Rio Games is due to be his fifth. He has also previously volunteered as Director of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Another example is Liz Ashton, who presided as President of Camosun College for 14 years and retired in 2009. Ashton was an Olympic athlete herself, representing Canada at two Olympic Games in equestrian riding.

Camosun’s strong Olympic links are also evident among its distinguished alumni. Martin Reader, for example, went from playing varsity volleyball at Camosun to playing beach volleyball in the London Olympics. Reader, now a model, has since retired from volleyball to turn his attention to marketing and promoting the sport.

Camosun is linked to the Olympics in a number of meaningful ways. The college helped create the first-ever Olympic bobsled and sit-ski simulators, for example – feats that are looked upon with respect and admiration among worldwide field professionals. It’s safe to say that few other colleges are so passionate about the Olympic Games, so determined to embrace its spirit, and so invested in its success.


That’s why Camosun College is so perfect for an education within sport and exercise science – its heart, mind and soul resides in that very place. At Camosun, you will benefit from a wide range of sport and exercise programs, from Sport Management, to Athletic & Exercise Therapy. Camosun’s Centre for Sport and Exercise Education, which administers the programs, is appropriately located within the PISE building, which has a wealth of rich Olympic history. Behind every great athlete comes a team with knowledge on a truly Olympian scale – do you think you have what it takes to help your country go for gold?

This article was sponsored by Camosun College. Established in 1971, its two campuses host approximately 18,000 students a year across a wide range of program subjects and levels. Camosun’s campus community is incredibly diverse, featuring 1,100 international students from over 70 countries. The college’s sport and exercise education programs are particularly well-regarded, and combine sport, fitness, wellness and rehabilitation, with management, science, and leadership. Camosun College is located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, which is a world-class training hub for sports like swimming, rugby, and triathlon.

All images courtesy of Camosun College