Team Canada’s Olympic Rookies: who will be taking part in their first Olympic Games in 2018?

Although our Canadian teams are composed of many experienced athletes — such as bobsleigh athlete Kaillie Humphries and speed skater Charles Hamelin who will be participating their third and fourth Winter Olympic Games respectively — for a few Canadian athletes, the Olympic Winter Games 2018  will be their first. With less than a month before the competitions begin, here are a few of Team Canada’s olympic rookies.

Luge

Reid Watts, 18 years old
British Columbia native Reid Watts started competing at the international level in the 2013-2014 season of the Junior World Cup. Two seasons later, in 2015-2016, Watts joined the World Cup team for the three races, only a few weeks before he participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, in Norway. Reid Watts is currently in the top 10 of the U23 division of the world championships.

Brooke Apshkrum, 18 years old
Brooke Apshkrum’s sledding debut coincides with the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010, which sparked a flame in her and inspired her to be part of such an event. Her great aspirations have led her to become a member of the junior national team at 14 years old, only four years after embarking on a sled for the first time. In 2016, Brooke won her first gold medal in an international event while competing in the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.  

Speed skating, short track

Samuel Girard, 21 years old
In 2013, Samuel Girard was a bystander in the canadian speed skating qualifiers for the Sotchi Winter Games. Four years later, it was his turn to skate his way to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, finishing in first place during the classifications for Team Canada by winning seven out of the nine races he was competing in. Prior to that, he finished in 3rd place at the World Cup in 2016-2017, which was only his fourth season at the international level. In 2014, he won the Speed Skating Canada’s Rising Star Award in short track.

Jamie Macdonald, 23 years old
A member of the senior national team since 2015, Jamie MacDonald made her mark on the international scene by winning a silver medal in the 5000-meter relay in the World Cup that same year. She won her first international individual medal at the Dordrecht World Cup in February 2016, earning a bronze medal at the 1000 meter race. During her 2016-2017 season, Jamie impressed more than a few people by winning five World Cup medals before qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Curling

Rachel Homan, 28 years old
Rachel Homan will be participating in her first Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang next February with her teammates Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle. While Homan and Miskew have playing together since the age of 11 years old, Lisa Weagle joined the team in the 2010-2011 season and Joanne Courtney, in 2014-2015. The quartet won a gold medal at Women’s World Championship in 2017, making them the first women’s Canadian curling team to bring back the title since 2008 and the first team ever to maintain a perfect 13-0 record during the event. Rachel Homan won the bronze medal 2013 and a silver medal in 2014 at the same event.

Kevin Koe, 42 years old
After finishing in 4th place in the World Championship in 2014, Kevin Koe joined Marc Kennedy, two-time world champion, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert, gold medalist at the Vancouver Games in 2010. The team’s goal was clear right from the start: qualify for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. At 42 years old, it’s a dream come true for Kevin Koe, who led his team to its first National Championship in 2016, followed by a gold medal at the World Championship.