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Campus Alberta at the Olympics!

Canadians were once again treated to the excitement of cheering on Team Canada at the winter Olympics, this time hosted in Sochi, Russia.  Alberta had a very strong presence on team Canada but what you may not realize is that Alberta’s post-secondary students and institutions also played an important role!

One of the most fascinating recent additions to the Olympics is the Skeleton event. Two of Canada’s skeleton athletes, John Fairbairn and Eric Neilson, have been working with SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary to achieve excellence.  John and Eric finished seventh and 13th respectively in skeleton on sleds that were designed and built at SAIT.

SAIT began working on skeleton sleds in 2008 through the federal government’s “Own the Podium” program.  SAIT’s role was to research, develop, and fine tune skeleton sleds to compete on the international stage.  The polytechnic says that they used technology in several ways to ensure excellence, including 3D scans of both the sled and rider to ensure that the sled performs to it’s best ability with it’s intended rider.

(for more information on SAIT’s skeleton team, watch the video below or click HERE)

SAIT’s neighbour in Calgary was also in on the Olympic action – the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) provided the exterior visual design of Canada’s bobsleds.  Fourth year Visual Communication Design student, Ruth Lee, was the winner of Bobsleigh Canada’s design competition and also incorporated aspects of first year ACAD student Justus Friesen’s submission.


(for complete details on the winning ACAD design, click HERE)

Through my recent tour of post-secondary institutions across Alberta I also found out a neat fact about the President of Norquest College, Dr. Jodi Abbott.  The Edmonton college president has been active in Canada’s figure skating community for years and was one of the international judges of figure skating events at the Olympics in Sochi.

The Olympics always brings out the best in Canadians and Albertans are no exception to that rule.  Whether cheering on our Olympic gold winning men’s hockey team at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday or cheering on any of Alberta’s 56 athletes on Team Canada, Albertans were engaged and proud.

Staff, students and Albertans and myself, as Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, find additional pride in the contributions of Campus Alberta to the Sochi Olympics!

I would also like to congratulate Albertans in the capital region that brought home medals: Jay Bouwmeester (originally from Edmonton, hockey); Meaghan Mikkleson (St. Albert, hockey); Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, hockey); Kaetlyn Osmond (Sherwood Park, figure skating); and, Mike Riddle (Sherwood Park, freestyle-halfpipe). You have all made us so proud.

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