Olympics all in the family

Sep 05, 2002, vol. 25, no. 1
By Marianne Meadahl

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Word that Vancouver-Whistler made the 2010 Winter Olympic site shortlist on Aug. 28 was welcome news to the sports-minded family of SFU staff member Nancy McNeil.

The long-distance runner's 15-year-old daughter Shaelagh may have a shot at competing at the games. Shaelagh, a short track speed skater, races on the provincial team and finished in the top 10 junior women's level at this year's Canadian nationals.

She's training for the Canadian winter games short track competition in February and hopes to eventually land a spot on the national short track team.

Meanwhile, brother Cameron is an ace with the compound bow, scooping both gold medals in cadet compound bow division for archery at the B.C. summer games in Nanaimo in August.

Cameron, who has held 11 Canadian indoor and outdoor records, hopes to qualify as a member of the provincial indoor archery team, which will also compete at the Canada winter games.

He later aspires to compete for Canada at World Cup archery competitions.

Shaelagh attended the Olympic bid announcement. The two are enthusiastic about the chance to compete in their own backyard.

So is mom Nancy, as the speed skating competition would be held on the SFU campus, as the university is set to get a new speed skating oval if the bid is successful. “I've always said they should follow their passion,” says McNeil, grants officer for research services at SFU.

The 14-year staff member is preparing for her first marathon since attempting the Vancouver race more than 20 years ago. The run is in Kelowna Oct. 13, and she's gearing up to complete it, thanks to a rigorous training schedule, along with “a great coach and terrific support from fellow running buddies.” But the challenge goes beyond reaching the finish line.

“The journey means more than a medal,” says McNeil, who along with husband Jim is also a master speed skater. “That's what sport is all about.”

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