The 2016 Olympic Games have begun in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Dal alumni, students and professors are taking part in the glory.

Five of Canada’s 300 athletes competing in this summer’s Games are alumni – all in water sports. Cheer on Dal’s athletes by sharing messages, images or videos of support on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat using the hashtags #Dalympians and #Rio2016.

This year’s “Dalympians”

Danielle Boyd

Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee

Danielle Boyd (BA’13) is competing in sailing alongside teammate Erin Rafuse in the 49er FX event. During her time at Dalhousie, Boyd studied English and Psychology and competed on the Dalhousie Sailing Team.

Last year, Boyd and Rafuse finished sixth in the 49er FX race at the Pan Am Games in Toronto and earned a 17th-place result at the world championships in Buenos Aires.

The 49er FX races in Rio will take place on Friday, Aug. 12, Saturday, Aug. 13, Monday, Aug. 15, and Tuesday, Aug. 16, beginning around 1 p.m. each day. The medal race will occur at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Find out more about Boyd on her Team Canada website or by following her on Twitter.


Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee

Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee

Mark de Jonge (BEng’09) earned a bronze medal in the men’s K-1 200m race in the 2012 London Olympics and is poised to bring Team Canada glory again in this year’s canoe/kayak races. De Jonge is a two-time world champion and holds the world record in the K-1 200m event. He also earned a gold and bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

The K-1 200m races will begin on Friday, Aug. 19 at 9 a.m., with the semifinals following at 10 a.m. and the finals taking place around 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Get to know de Jonge through his Team Canada website or by following him on Twitter.



Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee

Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee

Genevieve Orton (BSc’13) is competing in canoe/kayak for her first Olympic Games. The Canadian, World Cup and world championship medalist will compete in this year’s K-2 500m kayak and K-4 500m kayak events alongside her teammates.

The K-2 500m races will begin around 9:20 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 15, with the semi-finals beginning around 10:45 a.m. that day and the finals scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15 shortly after 9:20 a.m.

Heats for the K-4 500m will begin around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, with semi-finals following at 10:30 a.m. and the finals scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Learn more about Orton through her Team Canada website or by following her on Twitter.


Photo: courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Graeme (left) and Jacob Saunders (courtesy the Canadian Olympic Committee).

Brothers Graeme (BComm’14) and Jacob Saunders (DEng’14) are competing as a team in the men’s 470 sailing event. The Saunders brothers made the national team in 2013 and finished seventh at the Sailing World Cup this January. They race on a boat named Chester, after their hometown of Chester, N.S., with Jacob skippering and Graeme crewing.

The men’s 470 races will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 10, Thursday, Aug. 11, Friday, Aug. 12, Sunday, Aug. 14 and Monday, Aug. 15 around 1 p.m., with the medal race scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Find out more about the Saunders brothers on their Team Canada websites (GraemeJacob) or by following them on Twitter.


Dalhousie Kinesiology student Ellie Black is also competing in the Rio Olympics as an artistic gymnast. Black is currently on a hiatus from her Kinesiology studies at Dal as she focuses on competition. Learn more about Black on her Team Canada website or by following her on Twitter.

Behind the scenes

Alumni are also taking part in this summer’s Olympics as coaches, analysts and reporters.

Leo Thornley

Leo Thornley (provided).

Leo Thornley (MSc’02) and Michael Bawol (BScK’09, MSc’13) are supporting Canada’s paddling team through sports science and performance analysis. Thornley is working with Canada’s canoe and kayak team to improve performance by tracking metrics to help coaches make informed decisions about their athletes. He worked with the team at the 2012 London Olympics, where they earned three medals.

Darren Steeves (MSc’05) is in Rio as a strength and conditioning coach. He studied Kinesiology at Dalhousie.

CBC commentator Karen Furneaux (BScK’00, MSc’06) is covering the Games in Rio, with an expert background as a three-time Olympian and two-time world champion in sprint kayaking.


Dal professor Dr. Lori Dithurbide is supporting Canada’s women’s artistic gymnastics team as a mental performance consultant. She is an assistant professor of kinesiology in Dal’s School of Health and Human Performance and worked closely with Ellie Black in preparation for the Rio Olympics.

“I help the athletes increase their mental skills to maximize training and improve consistency in performance,” she explains.

Read more in “Dalhousie Olympians viewing guide 2016” and “Dal expertise helps Canadian athletes in Rio” on