Jamie Broder never actually lived in Parksville. But long before reaching the sands of Rio de Janeiro with the Canadian Olympic beach volleyball team, she made Parksville’s Community Park her home away from home.
“She played in quite a few Volleybashes, which is our big tournament at the end of the year,” said Shane Hyde, Broder’s former coach at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) and owner of Oceanside Outdoor Sport. “I don’t know how many of those she won, but it was at least four in the triples category and doubles.”
One of those Parksville victories came in mixed doubles with Hyde as her partner. These days, Broder is teamed with Ontario’s Kristina Valjas and can be seen on television or the web, competing for Canada in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
Broder, a 31-year-old Olympic rookie, and Valjas topped Italy in their first-round match in Pool D on Sunday. The duo fell to Germany in their second match Tuesday afternoon, but swept Egypt in their final preliminary match to advance to the Round of 16.
Broder and Valjas are scheduled to face fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan Saturday at 8 a.m. PDT with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
“Last year (Broder) was ranked No. 1 in the world for a good portion of the summer,” said Hyde. “She knocked off Kerry Walsh (of the U.S.), a three-time Olympic gold medalist. So, she’s going in ranked 11th, but she definitely has a shot at medaling, for sure.”
At 5-foot-7, Broder is considered diminutive by professional beach volleyball standards. But Hyde has been high on Broder’s talent since recruiting her from Saanich’s Claremont Secondary School to play for his Malaspina College team more than a decade ago. She spent three years with the school’s program before transferring to the University of British Columbia, and it was while playing for the Nanaimo school that she honed her beach volleyball game on the sands of Parksville, Hyde said.
Hyde and his wife Danielle have hosted beach volleyball tournaments, leagues and special events here for more than 20 years through Oceanside Outdoor Sport. The couple know Broder well, as each of them has partnered with the current Olympian to win local tournaments, in mixed and women’s competition.
“Any proud former coach would tell her to enjoy the experience, for sure, especially in her first Olympics,” Shane said. “She’s the shortest player on the tour and a lot of people told her she wouldn’t be successful. But it’s always been her goal from the minute that I knew her, to make the Olympics in beach volleyball.”
Langerfeld misses medal in rowing final
Canada’s men’s coxless four rowing team advanced to the A Final but saw their medal hopes dashed with a sixth-place finish early Friday morning at Lagoa Stadium. The team included first-time Olympian Kai Langerfeld, who grew up in Parksville and graduated from Ballenas Secondary School before taking up rowing in 2009 at the University of Victoria.
Langerfeld was joined in Canada’s four-man boat by Conlin McCabe and Will Crothers, who won silver in the men’s eight event four years earlier in the London Olympics, and by fellow Olympic rookie Tim Schrijver.
The Canadians covered the 2,000-metre course in a time of six minutes, 15.93 seconds to bring up the rear in the six-boat medal final.
Great Britain claimed the gold medal in a time of 5:58.61, with Australia earning silver and Italy taking the bronze.
Canada’s crew actually improved its time over Thursday’s semifinals, when they placed second to Great Britain in 6:20.66 to earn their finals berth.
Team Canada did claim its first rowing medal of the games Friday when the women’s double sculls team of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee snared the silver.
Mason leaps into action
Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay, another Ballenas alum, opens competition in his third Summer Games on Sunday, in the qualifying round of the men’s high jump in Rio’s Olympic Stadium.
Mason, the 2004 world junior champion, advanced to the finals and finished eighth in the 2012 London Games. His Olympic debut came in 2008, when he placed 19th in the Beijing Games with Team Canada.
If Mason is again able to advance to the finals, he would compete in the medal event Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 4:30 p.m. (PDT).
— With files from Auren Ruvinsky