Edmonton sports groups gearing up for Tokyo Olympics buzz and boost

The Tokyo Olympics are set to get underway in Japan later this month and the excitement within the local sporting community is growing.

The Olympics run from July 23 to August 8 and the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5

Edmonton runner Marco Arop is one of the athletes from Alberta heading to the Tokyo Olympics that start later this month. (Supplied by Athletics Canada)

The Tokyo Olympics are set to get underway in Japan later this month and the excitement within the local sporting community is growing.

And so is interest in taking up sports featured in the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

Gary Shelton, executive director of the Edmonton Sport Council, says they typically see a jump in interest post-competition especially in the sports Canada succeeds in. 

"A lot of us will be watching the Olympics," Shelton said. 

The group also sees a bump in their website traffic and will help direct potential athletes to clubs, leagues and facilities, he said.

"We're a connector and a voice and a resource for Edmonton's amateur sport and recreation community." 

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There are a dozen athletes from the Edmonton-area participating in the Olympics and three in the Paralympics in sports like volleyball, track and field, soccer and cycling. 

James Rosnau, chairperson of the Edmonton Sport Council and the executive director of Athletics Alberta, the provincial governing body for track and field, says people should keep an eye on rising stars Marco Arop, an 800 metre runner who is top five in the world and Sage Watson, a 400 metre hurdler. 

Their successes will help inspire the next generation of athletes who they've trained with at a club or worked with at a camp, Rosnau says.

Edmonton Sport Council chairperson James Rosnau is excited to see what Alberta athletes accomplish in Toyko. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

The other upshot of the Olympics is the renewed focus and interest in getting active.

Shannon Pynn, a director with the Edmonton Sport Council, says that while the physical and social benefits of sport are obvious, there is another factor at play. 

"[It's] the psychological side of things, it makes us feel good, it can help build our self esteem, improve our mood," Pynn said. 

The Olympics, which will be broadcast by CBC, run from July 23 to August 8 and the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.

Shannon Pynn studies the benefits of being active at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)


Adrienne Lamb is an award-winning journalist based in Edmonton. She's the host and producer of Our Edmonton featured weekly on CBC TV. Adrienne has spent the last couple of decades telling stories across Canada.


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