Three Mission athletes are competing in this year’s Summer Olympic Games, set to begin Friday (July 27) in London.
Swimmer Brent Hayden will be looking for his first Olympic medal in the 100 m freestyle and the 4 x 100 m relay. This is Hayden’s third Olympics, having participated in the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2004 Games in Athens.
Hayden was born and raised in Mission. He attended Hatzic secondary and has dreamed about going to the Olympics since he was a small child.
He trained and studied at UBC and plans to marry his fiancee after the London Games.
Gabriele, 32, has been a part of the national basketball team for 14 years, and Smith is a nine-year member.
Gabriele, a 5’5″ point guard, was a part of the 2000 Olympic basketball team in Sydney, which finished in 10th place. She is now retired from competitive play, but kept up training to make another Olympic appearance. She plans to wrap up her career after the London Games.
Smith led her high school basketball team to the provincial championships three years in a row before signing on to play for the University of Utah. She was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA and played there for three seasons before joining teams in Belgium and Spain.
Canada’s women’s basketball team qualified for the Olympics after defeating Japan at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Turkey.