Decade in Review: Olympic experience at home and abroad

As the decade winds down to a close, Ubyssey Sports is taking a look back at the biggest stories from the last 10 years.

The Olympics and UBC have always had a special relationship — 224 Olympians having called the University Endowment Lands home. But it was in the last decade that we've seen an even more special relationship develop between UBC and the Olympic Games. First and foremost, the decade began with the Winter Olympic Games coming to campus.

Vancouver 2010 changed the face of the city and the campus to a certain extent. As with a number of other venues built for the games, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena was built as a secondary to Rogers Arena for men's and women's ice hockey as well as sledge hockey during the subsequent Paralympics.

The arena has become the centre of Hockey on campus.
The arena has become the centre of Hockey on campus. File Elizabeth Wang

The venue, built adjacent to the much older Father David Bauer Arena, played host to a Team Canada game during the 2010 Olympics — a 13-1 blowout win against Sweden. Since its use in the Olympics, the 7,500 seat arena has become a staple on campus and one of the biggest university hockey dedicated arenas on the continent.

The 2010s also saw a number of T-Birds represent Canada at the Summer Olympics, with a few even stepping onto the podium. Current varsity swimmer Emily Overholt helped the Canadian 4x200-metre freestyle relay to a bronze-medal finish ahead of powerhouse countries like China and Russia at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Emily Overholt at the Mel Zajac meet in Vancouver.
Emily Overholt at the Mel Zajac meet in Vancouver. File Samantha McCabe

Four years before that at the London 2012 Olympics, former T-Birds swimmer Brent Hayden added more metal to his 2007 world title and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold. Hayden won a bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle, swimming against current world record holder Cesar Cielo and five other Olympic medalists.

But with glory comes a little heartbreak. The 2016 Olympics had the stage set for race walker and Thunderbird athlete Evan Dunfee to build off his gold-medal performance at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Dunfee was, for a short time, an Olympic Bronze Medalist.
Dunfee was, for a short time, an Olympic Bronze Medalist. Courtesy UBC Athletics

At the finish of the men's 50km-race walk event, Dunfee was fourth but got upgraded to a bronze medal after Japan's Hirooki Arai was disqualified for having made contact with Dunfee in the race. While Dunfee was briefly an Olympic medalist, the ruling was overturned on appeal and Arai regained his bronze-medal finish.