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photo illustration by Mico Mazza

U of O athlete goes to

2011 Pan Am Games

AS ONE OF the largest multisport events of the year, the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico will be a sight to see, and U of O student and Gee-Gees athlete Michael Robertson will have the opportunity to take it all in.

Fourth-year human kinetics student by day, track and relay runner by night, Robertson was selected by Athletics Canada along with 16 other athletes to participate in the Pan Am Games between Oct. 23 and 29, an event that features over 6,000 athletes from North and South America. Robertson will be representing Canada in the 4x400m relay event along with Tremaine Harris, Philip Osei, and Dontae Richards-Kwok.

“It was a few weeks ago that I heard, ‘We are going to represent a 4x400m and we would like you to be part of it,’” said Robertson in an interview with the Fulcrum. “I just started my break from the off-season, so I had to talk with my coach and my family just to see if it was the right step to take, and I said, ‘For sure, I’d love to go.’”

Robertson recently returned from participating in the International University Sports Federation (FISU) tournament in Shenzhen, China, where he made it to the semifinal round in track. He explained that he loves taking advantage of international opportunities because it gives him the chance to run alongside national champions.

“Going into FISU I expected there to be really good competition, but no big names,” he said.

“But there were four guys who were champions running together and one who was [an] Olympic and World Champion at the Texas relay. [He] was standing beside me when we were about to race. That is as big as it gets unless you are actually at the Olympics or Worlds.”

And that is exactly what Robertson hopes to accomplish. While an invitation to the Pan Am Games is a great opportunity, he wants to save some of his energy for the national competition to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I’m going to go to the Pan Ams and have a solid performance there, but it’s not really make or break,” he said.

“I am going to run the same program and make sure it won’t affect anything in the long run … We are going to try and set up a 4x400m and hit a standard for myself to go in the open four for the Olympics. That is the goal.”

Roberston has won six Ontario University Athletics championship medals with the Gee-Gees and is currently a two-time silver medalist with Canadian Interuniversity Sports.

—Katherine DeClerq