U of G Student, Staff Member Head to Beijing Olympics

August 01, 2008 - News Release

A U of G student and staff member are currently in Beijing taking part in the 2008 summer Olympics.

First-year student Samantha Whiteside is one of two young Canadians selected to represent the country at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Youth Camp.

Sports medicine physician Margo Mountjoy, who works in the University's Health and Performance Centre, is in Beijing as a member of the International Olympic Committee's Medical Commission.

Whiteside, along with fellow Canadian youth Carson Marcoux, is participating in the youth camp from Aug. 2 to 18. The camp is a cross-cultural exchange program that brings together more than 400 youth from around the world and focuses on instilling Olympic values. Participants attend Olympic events and take part in related activities.

In addition to attending the camp, Whiteside is running in this year's Olympic torch relay Aug. 7.

"I am very excited for the opportunity," she said. "I don't really know what to expect yet, but carrying the torch and being at the opening ceremonies in person is definitely what I'm looking forward to most. It's not an experience many people are given and I'm very honoured."

Whiteside is studying microbiology and is on the Gryphon swim team. She was chosen for the international camp because of her extensive accomplishments in athletics and in volunteering.

She is the second-youngest person to swim Lake Ontario, missing the world record by just over a minute. She swam the lake in August 2006 after a year of training. Her swim raised $25,000 for research into juvenile arthritis, which afflicts Whiteside. As a marathon swimmer, she has raised more than $52,000 for the Arthritis Society.

Last summer, she was named among the Top 20 Under 20 by the Globe and Mail for her achievements.

Mountjoy's time in Beijing will be spent working with the athletes and medical teams as a member of the International Olympic Committee's Medical Commission.

She will supervise the Beijing medical work force, work with the national team doctors and the Beijing medical team, supervise the doping control program, and implement an injury research program to identify the number and types of injuries sustained by athletes during the Games.

Mountjoy also took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Games. In Athens, she conducted doping tests as chair of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), the international federation that governs all aquatic sports. She was also the physician for the Canadian synchronized swimming team in Athens and in Sydney.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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