Jasmin Glaesser, left, holding her bronze medal and father Uwe Glaesser, SFU professor in computing science.

SFU student wins bronze

August 10, 2012

Not many people knew who Jasmin Glaesser was two weeks ago.

And when the Coquitlam native comes back home from the 2012 Summer Olympics as a bronze medalist on Sunday, she hopes that will stay the same. But with that medal around her neck, it might be harder than she thinks.

“It’s great being here, but once you go home, you’re just another student. You just go back to living your life, I hope,” she chuckles during a phone interview from London.

Glaesser, a third-year computing science student at Simon Fraser University, won her bronze in women’s team pursuit cycling. The event is competed over a distance of three kilometres by a team of three riders, with two teams competing at once.

After squeaking out a victory over Australia for the bronze, and stepping on the Olympic podium with teammates Tara Whitten and Gillian Carleton on national television, it suddenly became harder for Glaesser to hide.

She did her best to stay hidden prior to the games. She and her teammates trained for two weeks in the Netherlands to avoid the distraction of the athletes’ village.

“But it’s a whole other animal once you get out there on the start lines,” she says. “The crowd was going crazy, lights were flashing everywhere. It was definitely something new.”

On the first day of qualification, Glaesser and her team rode to a “disappointing” fourth place. But they rode fast enough to qualify for the bronze medal race, and that event was anything but a disappointment.

“I knew we did the best we could that final ride, and technically it was probably the best ride we’d ever done. You could tell from the crowd that it was a close race, but it wasn’t until after the race that we could look up and really see how close it was.  To actually see the result up on the board . . . and to step on the podium and see the Canadian flag go up is incredible,” she says.

Given that she rode a near-perfect race with the country watching, she should be able to handle the spotlight. She’d better, because Glaesser plans on being back in it when Brazil hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“For myself, it’s just the beginning,” says the 20-year-old. “I know I have the potential to be better. And my goal for the 2016 Games in Rio is to branch out and be more competitive on the road as well.”

But that’s four years from now. For the time being, she just wants come home and be a student again.

“School’s my number-one goal,” she says. “The past year I was living in Los Angeles to train with the team. I know it sounds cheesy, but school was definitely the thing I missed most. I missed being on campus and being around classmates and being part of the SFU environment.”

She’ll be right back there in the fall, just a little more famous than when she left.