When Westman’s Isabela Onyshko competes in the women’s all-around gymnastics finals this Thursday, she’ll know that she has the support of friends and family cheering her on as they watch live across the country — and here at Brandon University.
Onyshko, who earned a spot in the finals after a top-10 performance during Sunday’s qualifying round, will attend BU in the fall to study in the Faculty of Science. And this Thursday afternoon, BU will be rallying behind one of our newest students as Brandon University hosts a public viewing of the Olympic broadcast from Rio de Janeiro.
The gymnastics finals will be projected onto to large screens in Harvest Hall, the dining area at BU, for the public viewing. The show is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, with doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Public parking will be available for free in Lot 10 at BU, which is south of Louise Avenue beside the Healthy Living Centre. Signs will direct people to Harvest Hall, with the best entrance through the residence link north of Louise Avenue, near 20th Street.
“I am so excited for Isabela, and I am thrilled that everyone here at Brandon University is so excited and supportive as well,” says BU Associate Professor Kelly Saunders, who is also board president at the Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Club where Onyshko trains.
Saunders says the Eagles quickly realized a bigger BU location was needed for viewing the finals, after more than 70 people showed up for Sunday’s qualifying round, which they streamed at the club.
Harvest Hall fits the bill, with seating for well over 200 in view of the screens, plus plenty more standing room. Brandon University will also be providing complimentary punch, popcorn and chips.
“It’s an exceptional honour to welcome an Olympian to Brandon University this fall,” said BU President Gervan Fearon, who says he’ll be in Harvest Hall, glued to the competition. “More than 700 new students will be joining BU at our Orientation in September; Isabela Onyshko will be amongst them and her participation in the Olympics is part of her amazing experience, helping make up the special community here at BU.”
Onyshko will perform routines on the balance beam, floor, vault and uneven bars during Thursday’s all-around competition. She’s also qualified for the balance beam final, next week.
Saunders says that Onyshko, known by her nickname Bela, will continue her gymnastics training while studying at BU.
“She’s unbelievably talented, intelligent, and most of all, she’s a lovely, lovely young woman,” Saunders says. “It’s one of the great things about BU, that we have such amazing people in our midst.”
BU has another connection at the Rio Olympics. Two former BU Bobcats, Steve Baur and Shawnee Harle, are on the coaching staff of the Canadian women’s basketball team.
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
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