A group of our young rugby athletes bolted from the exam room to the relay race course to take part in Ottawa’s bid to secure the Canada Summer Games 2021. Ottawa is competing to host the games and are up against three other Ontario communities: Niagara, Sudbury and the combined regions of Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph.
Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa 2021 Bid Committee Co-Chairs Cyril Leeder and Sue Holloway kicked off a relay race at City Hall on January 31, 2017. An in-depth “bid book” was tucked into a Team Ontario knapsack and handed off to the first of 18 sports groups. With no time to actually read the book, the groups sprinted along the canal and down Bank Street, passing the backpack with ease to each successive group.
To chants of “When I say ‘rug’ you say ‘be’! Rugby! Rugby!”, the enthusiastic Rugby 7s athletes carried the bag and Ottawa 2021 flag during the final relay leg. As a formal submission of the book – the team cheered as they crossed over the try line and arrived at the Canada Games Council office.
Olympian medalists Catriona LeMay Don and Andre De Grasse are graduates of the Canada Games. In fact, roughly two-thirds of Canada’s Olympic team at the Rio Games once competed in the Canada Games, as did NHL stars Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby.
The scope of the games is enormous: over 4,600 athletes competing in 20 sports, comprising over 250 events. Over 5,000 volunteers will be required. As part of the planning process, dozens of community leaders and directors in all summer sport disciplines are providing input. If Ottawa does not win the bid, the Games won’t be seen in the nation’s capital for at least another 40 years, due to the four-year-cycle of the event and the provincial rotation as host.
These athletes will be eligible to compete at the 2021 Canada games, which will feature Rugby 7s for the first time.
For more information, check out http://ottawa2021.ca/