Local Athletes and Coach at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
For Immediate Release – Friday, July 23, 2021
Lethbridge, Alberta: Four athletes and one coach with a Lethbridge connection will represent Canada and one athlete representing the Netherlands at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games beginning July 23, 2021. They will join 371 athletes and 131 coaches; the largest delegation Canada has sent to an Olympic Games since Los Angeles in 1984.
This is the second time the Olympic Games will be hosted by Tokyo Japan, which previously welcomed 5,151 athletes in 1964. The 2020 Games will welcome almost double that number of athletes at 11,090.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will officially start on Friday July 23rd and continue until Sunday August 8th. While Larry Steinke, Liz Gleadle, and Kayla Moleschi are experienced Olympians representing Canada in their fifth, third, and second Games respectively, Jillian Weir, Keyara Wardley, and Ross Bekkering are rookies.
“The Olympics are a time for the very best to shine and be recognized. We are so proud of all of Canada’s Olympians, especially those with Lethbridge connections," said Neil Langevin, University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Athletics. "A special pride comes in congratulating Larry Steinke on attending his fifth Olympics as a coach, this is an incredible accomplishment. His work with athletes in Canada and in our Pronghorn Athletics program has been notable. He is truly a world leader and has directly impacted Liz and Jillian. Having coached Kayla as a Pronghorn, my heart will be wishing her well in her bid to get a second Olympic medal. While Keyara went straight to the National team I have followed her progress and know that many Canadians will see her incredible talents on display in Tokyo.”
Susan Eymann Lethbridge Sport Council executive director said, “There is already excitement in the air as local children and youth return to sport. How inspiring for our young athletes to have these five exceptional people with ties to Lethbridge represent Canada on the Olympic stage.”
Michelle Day Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden executive director said, “Nikka Yuko will be displaying George Gemer’s 1964 Tokyo memorabilia and have ongoing performances of the Tokyo Olympic Dances by the Minyo Dancers.
"Lethbridge has a strong and proud sporting history and it's a passion in which many residents take great joy and pride," says Lethbridge Mayor, Chris Spearman. "It's wonderful to see that history being continued at the very highest level on the world stage and we wish them all the very best of luck in Tokyo!"
Communication Manager, Lethbridge Sport Council
Executive Director, Lethbridge Sport Council
Bios of the coach and athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
Lawrence Steinke - Athletics, Coach
A highly successful athlete in his own right, Lawrence Steinke has found even greater success as a coach. Steinke has been named a member of Team Canada's coaching staff for the 2020 Olympic Games. The Tokyo Olympics will mark the fourth consecutive Summer Games at which Lawrence Steinke will have athletes he has coached in attendance in the form of Jillian Weir and Liz Gleadle. On top of his already significant Olympic resume, which spans well over the last decade, Steinke continues to be the head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns track and field team and is well recognized as one of the most prominent coaches in the sport of athletics in the country.
Liz Gleadle - Athletics, Javelin
Liz Gleadle will come into the Tokyo Games as one of Team Canada's most experienced competitors with this being her third Olympic Games. While Liz plans on this being the final time she will compete at the Games, she also plans on making this the most successful Olympics of her career. She comes into the Games healthy, consistently throwing over 60 meters, with a meticulously crafted and well regimented routine, and with a mindset to achieve what she is always known that she is capable of.
Jillian Weir - Athletics, Hammer Throw
Stepping into the great hammer throwing legacy left behind by Olympians Jim and Heather Steacy, Jillian Weir has qualified for her first Olympic Games. Weir came to Lethbridge to train under Lawrence Steinke in 2019 after working with him at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Jillian is a dual citizen of the USA and Canada and is the daughter of three-time English Olympian Robert Weir. Prior to coming to Lethbridge Jillian had a strong career throwing in the NCAA with the University of Oregon and has made a number of previous national teams.
Kayla Moleschi - Rugby
A member of Canada's historic Bronze medal-winning Rugby 7s team at Rio 2016, Pronghorn alumni Kayla Moleschi comes into the Tokyo Olympics looking to lead Canada to a second straight Olympic podium. Moleschi played a single season for the Pronghorns in 2011 before graduating to the World Rugby Sevens Series. Moleschi has also represented Canada at two world cups and two Pan American Games the most recent of which (2019) she was named captain and led Canada to a historic gold medal. Keyara Wardley - Rugby Growing up in nearby Vulcan AB, Wardley played on a Deep South Lethbridge ARC team in high school and competed in the same league as Lethbridge's high school teams. Now the Alberta native is heading to her first Olympic Games at the age of 21. Wardley will feature as one of the youngest and most promising prospects on the Canadian team at the Games having only just made her Senior debut in 2019. That is not to say that she lacks any experience however as Wardley won Silver and Bronze at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games and 2018 Youth Olympic Games respectively.
Keyara Wardley - Rugby
Growing up in nearby Vulcan AB, Wardley played on a Deep South Lethbridge ARC team in high school and competed in the same league as Lethbridge's high school teams. Now the Alberta native is heading to her first Olympic Games at the age of 21. Wardley will feature as one of the youngest and most promising prospects on the Canadian team at the Games having only just made her Senior debut in 2019. That is not to say that she lacks any experience however as Wardley won Silver and Bronze at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games and 2018 Youth Olympic Games respectively.
Ross Bekkering - 3x3 Basketball - Netherlands
Ross Bekkering, a native of Taber, took a leave from his teaching position at LCI to pursue an opportunity to compete at the Tokyo Olympics for the Netherlands 3x3 basketball team. Bekkering led the team in scoring (and ranked second overall) at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Romania Qualifier on June 26-27, 2021. Bekkering is a former Canadian-Dutch professional basketball player.
Linsie MacDonald, Physiotherapist
Linsie MacDonald is in Tokyo as the physiotherapist for Badminton Team Canada. She played University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Rugby from 2000-2004. Linsie currently resides in Red Deer.
Jon Koopmans, Technical Support
Jon Koopmans is a repeat Olympian having been at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics assisting with the broadcast. He is in Tokyo working as technical support for NBC.
Posted July 23, 2021