Athletes, coaches front and centre in Winnipeg

Alex Carre was in charge of the largest multi-sport team ever assembled by Canada at the largest athletic competition ever staged in this country -- the XIII Pan American Games in Winnipeg, which ended last weekend.

"Personally it was an immense challenge and the pinnacle of my life's work in sports as an athlete, coach and administrator," says the associate professor in Human Kinetics and Canada's chef de mission for the games.

UBC athletes played a role in Canada's record 196 medals which included 64 gold, 52 silver and 80 bronze earning 15 medals.

"Canadians should be pleased and proud. These are our best-ever results," he says. "Our athletes turned in outstanding performances and are now competitive in every sport at the elite Pan Am level."

Carre -- who asked Canadians to keep the motto, `A goal is a dream with a deadline,' in mind -- was appointed to the key position three years ago. He was responsible for Canada's 624 athletes and 264 coaches, trainers and officials.

"My job included overseeing everything from accommodations to making certain that all the conditions for fair and equitable competition were met," he says.

Carre says Canada's athletes quickly moved on following the scandal involving Canada's roller hockey goaltender Steve Vezina.

"There was a buzz in the village that a Canadian had tested positive for banned substances, but to their credit everyone quickly refocused on what we were there for," he says.

Nineteen-year-old swimming sensation Jessica Deglau earned six medals, including a Canadian record of four gold (200-metre butterfly in Pan Am record time, 200-metre freestyle, 4x200-metre freestyle relay and 4x100-metre freestyle relay) and two silver (100-metre butterfly and 4x100-metre medley relay).

UBC teammate Marianne Limpert had four: two gold medals as a member of relay teams (4x200-metre freestyle and 4x100-metre freestyle) and two bronze in the 100-metre freestyle and 200-metre individual medley.

Other UBC swimmers who earned medals were Mark Johnston with two bronze ( 200-metre freestyle and in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay), and Mark Versfeld, who was a member of the 4x100-metre relay team which finished with a bronze medal.

The UBC swimming contingent was made up of seven athletes from the Canadian university championship (CIAU) team and Coach Tom Johnson.

Field hockey goaltenders from UBC made many key saves to help earn Canada's medals in that sport. Mike Mahood -- who is taking time out from his studies to focus on field hockey -- is a member of Canada's gold medal team. Ann Harada and her teammates earned a bronze medal in women's field hockey.

Among the other UBC athletes participating was volleyball star Joanne Ross.

Carre, an expert in the design and development of athletic programs and instructor effectiveness, joined UBC's Faculty of Education in 1973. He has been a member of Canadian delegations to three Pan Am Games and four Olympics and teaches a course in Olympic history at the university.