uOttawa’s Olympians: Five to watch in Rio

Posted on Monday, August 1, 2016

Sekou Kaba jumps a hurdle with arms outstretched

Sekou Kaba on his way to qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada

By Linda Scales

The eyes of the world will be on Brazil from August 5 to 21 as about 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries converge on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. They will compete in 28 sports (and 42 disciplines) at 34 venues.

Among the top athletes representing Canada at the Games are five with strong ties to uOttawa. As you watch athletics, rowing and rugby sevens (one of two inaugural sports at these Games), give a shout-out to these Olympians doing us all proud as part of Team Canada at Rio 2016.

Sekou Kaba of Ottawa is a uOttawa criminology student and former Gee-Gees track star. Kaba moved with his family from Guinea to Canada in 2007 and started running at age 11. He began competing for Canada soon after becoming a citizen in 2012. At the 2013 Jeux de la Francophonie, he won a gold medal (110m hurdles), but missed the finals at the 2015 Pan Am Games by just .02 seconds. Rio 2016, where he’ll compete in the 110m hurdles, is Kaba’s first Olympics. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada)

Segun Makinde (BCom ’14) of Ottawa started running track at age 15, encouraged to compete by a high school teacher. He went on to become the second-fastest high school athlete in Canada in the 200 metres. Makinde won two gold medals (200 metres and 4 x 100m relay) at the 2013 Jeux de la Francophonie. He was part of the Canadian contingent at the 2012 Olympics in London, but did not compete. At Rio 2016, he’ll race in the 4 x 100m relay. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada)

Lanni Marchant (LLB ’11) is Canada’s fastest woman in both the marathon and half marathon. From London, Ont., her first sport was figure skating and she ran to cross train. While studying law — at both uOttawa and Michigan State University — she took up road racing and only got into elite marathon-running at age 28. Today, Marchant is a criminal defence attorney in Tennessee. She’ll compete in both the marathon and 10,000m at Rio, her first Olympics. (Photo: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada)

Cristy Nurse (LLB ’13), six feet tall and originally a basketball player, switched to rowing at age 19. From Georgetown, Ont., she was named the 2015 Senior Athlete of the Year by Rowing Canada. This was after rowing in five World Cup championships and never missing the podium. Rio is her first Olympic Games and she’ll compete in the women’s eight and women’s pair. She plans to write her bar exams after Rio. (Photo: Team Canada site)

Natasha Watcham-Roy (BHSc ’14) and her teammates will make history at the Rio Olympics: rugby sevens is a new sport at these Summer Games (along with golf). Only the women’s team will be in Rio to represent Canada on the rugby pitch. Former captain of the Gee-Gees rugby 15s, Watcham-Roy, from Gatineau, started playing rugby in Grade 9 because her brother played. She and her team won a gold medal for Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games. (Photo: Team Canada site)

 one running with the ball and the other trying to block her.

Alumna Natasha Watcham-Roy is one of 12 athletes who will represent Canada at the inaugural rugby sevens competition to be held in Rio’s Deodoro Stadium from August 6 to 8. Photo: Ian Muir

Back to top