Eleven athletes with connections to York University are taking part in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. (The games were postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Competing are Jason Ho-Shue (Badminton), Katie Vincent (Canoe-Kayak), Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes (Beach Volleyball), Shady El Nahas (Judo), Brittany Crew (Shot Put), Pierce Lepage (Decathlon), Bismark Boateng and Khamica Bingham (Track & Field), Arthur Szwarc (Indoor Volleyball) and Syed Muhammad Haseeb Tariq (Swimming). Alumna Andrea Prieur, a certified athletic therapist, will be part of the Health Services team, and alumna Natalie Ghobrial is the athletic therapist for the Women’s Softball team.
Jason Ho-Shue – Badminton
A Canadian badminton player from Markham, Ont., Ho-Shue is a student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. In 2015, he settled triple crowns at the Pan Am Junior Badminton Championships in the boys’ singles, doubles and mixed doubles events. He won the bronze medal in the mixed team event. In 2016, he became the youngest Canadian badminton player to win the national title in men’s singles event. He also won double titles at the XX Pan Am Individual Championships in men’s singles and doubles. Ho-Shue competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He was a gold medalist in the men’s doubles event partnered with Nyl Yakura at the 2019 Lima Pan American Games, earning a bronze medal in the men’s singles.
Katie Vincent – Canoe-Kayak
Currently an undergraduate student in York’s Faculty of Health, Vincent is a Canadian athlete competing in the Canoe-Kayak Sprint. She first represented Canada in 2013 at the World Junior Championships, and the next year earned two golds in the C-1 200m and the C-2 500m. In 2015, she continued to show her podium potential at the ICF World Cup when she earned medals for individual and team competitions. In 2016, she secured her first solo World Cup gold, and went on to bring home three more gold medals from the U23 World Championships. Vincent’s winning streak continued through 2017 with three more individual podiums at the World Cup, and a team gold. In 2018, Vincent and team mate Vincent Lapointe brought home two World Cup gold medals, and twice broke their own world record; in 2019, the continued their winning streak with a World Cup bronze and silver in Poznan, Poland, followed by two more silvers in Duisburg. Vincent qualified for Tokyo 2020 during the national trials in March 2021 when she one a C-1 race-off against long-time team mate Lapointe. She qualified with a third-place finish by 0.32 of a second.
Brandie Wilkerson – Beach Volleyball
Arguably one of Canada’s greatest medal threats, Wilkerson attended York until 2014 and starred for the women’s volleyball team during her time with the Lions. She earned Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) second-team all-Canadian and Ontario University Athletics (OUA) first-team all-star honours for two straight seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The native of Toronto also ranked fourth in the OUA and first on the team in scoring in 2013-14 (3.91 points per set) and sixth in kills per set (3.10), despite starting just 11 matches. Wilkerson’s career began on a high note at the beginning of the last decade – now 29-years-old, she was named York’s female rookie of the year in 2010-11 and earned the OUA rookie of the year award. She was a CIS and OUA all-rookie team member and an OUA East second-team all-star that season.
Melissa Humana-Paredes – Beach Volleyball
A six-time FIVB Gold Medalist, 12-time FIVB Medalist, five-time Canadian champion, two-time AVP champion, Commonwealth Games champion, and most recently, a world champion, earning the first-ever Gold for Canada, Humana-Paredes is an extremely accomplished volleyball player with roots at York University. Humana-Paredes and her family have been synonymous with the York volleyball programs for decades. A York alumna, she previously played for four years for the Lions, her brother Felipe was a five-year member of the men’s team and their father Hernan Humana was a long-time coach of both teams. Humana-Paredes’ Lions career included three OUA all-star honours, a CIS second-team all-Canadian selection and York’s female Athlete of the Year award in 2012. She won back-to-back bronze medals at the U23 world championships, competed at the 2015 Pan Am Games, the FISU Games in 2013, and toured around the world to compete at the FIVB and NORCECA events, winning numerous medals in the process. The team of Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan won the gold medal at the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championships, defeating the American team of April Ross and Alix Klineman 2-0 for Canada’s first-ever medal in the event.
Shady El Nahas – Judo
A 23-year-old Canadian from Alexandria, Egypt, El Nahas competed as a wrestler at York in 2017, where he went a near-perfect 23-1 in OUA competition with 19 pins. He was a gold medallist at Concordia, McMaster and York regular-season events. He was a 2017 York rookie-of-the-year nominee, and earned the men’s wrestling MVP during his only season with the Lions. Since then, El Nahas has achieved considerable success on the international stage. He is a two-time gold medal winner at the Pan American Judo Championships in 2019 and 2020 and also took gold at the 2021 IHF Judo Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has four other medals at Grand Slams, three bronze medals and a silver at 2018 Osaka. At the 2021 World Championships, El Nahas got into a bronze medal match where he lost to Ilia Sulamanidze of Georgia to finish in a tie for fifth.
Brittany Crew – Shot Put
Crew is a decorated former Lion with multiple medal-winning performances at international competition and recently earned a slew of impressive awards for York at the national stage. A 27-year-old shot putter from Toronto, Ontario, Crew graduated from York University in 2019 with a degree in kinesiology and health science. She is a three-time gold medallist at the U SPORTS Championships (2015, 2016 and 2019) and earned bronze at the 2015 FISU Summer Universiade in South Korea. Crew was rewarded in each of those gold-level seasons with the York female Athlete of the Year award in 2015, 2016, and 2019. She set a U SPORTS record for shot put with a 16.96m toss at 2016 nationals, then broke her own record in 2019, launching a 17.56m throw. She out threw her nearest competition by more than two metres en route to winning the event. Crew returns to the Olympics for a second time after donning the red and white in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pierce Lepage – Decathlon
The 25-year-old runner from Whitby, Ont., graduated from York University in 2019 with a degree in interdisciplinary social science. It was also a landmark year for Lepage because he struck gold at three different events at the York-hosted OUA championships, winning in 60m hurdles, long jump, and high jump. At the 2019 U SPORTS championships, he earned gold in 60m hurdles and long jump. He was also part of the silver medal-winning 4x200m relay team, and won bronze in high jump. Lepage was named 2019 York male Athlete of the Year. At international events, Lepage is known for competing as a decathlete, routinely reaching the podium on the world stage. In his first decathlon of 2019, LePage scored a personal best 8453 points to win the Decastar meet in June, which gave him the decathlon qualifying standard for Tokyo 2020. He shared the podium with Canadian teammate Damian Warner at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, winning bronze, after a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. LePage did not compete in the decathlon in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, LePage attended the famed Hypo-meeting in Götzis, Austria and won silver with a personal-best of 8534 points.
Bismark Boateng – Track & Field
The 29-year-old Canadian from Accra, Ghana wasn’t always a track & field athlete. He began his post-secondary athletic career with the Rams as a soccer player, but eventually discovered track and transferred to York to join the team. His sprinting career took off from there, proving he made a wise decision. He struck gold in 60m at the CIS Championships in 2015 and took home silver in 2016. Internationally, Boateng was part of the gold medal 4x100m relay winning team at the 2018 NACAC Championships in Toronto.
Khamica Bingham – Track & Field
A 2020 humanities graduate, the 27-year-old sprinter from Brampton, Ont., has played a key role in Canada’s Olympic efforts since she joined Canada nationally. She is a two-time medallist in the Pan American Games, earning a silver with Canada at Lima 2019 and a bronze at Toronto 2015. Bingham made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 where she anchored the 4x100m relay team to a sixth-place finish, in what was Canada’s first Olympic final in the event since Los Angeles 1984. She missed advancing to the 100m semifinals by just one place. In 2013, she represented Canada at the Universiade, finishing fourth in the 100m semis.
Arthur Szwarc – Indoor Volleyball
Szwarc was a Lion for two seasons, earning accolades in both years for men’s volleyball. His team won an OUA bronze medal in 2015 and he was named a CIS second team all-star in 2016. While at York University, he also represented Canada at the 2015 Universiade and FIVB Junior World Championship and won bronze at the 2015 U21 Pan Am Cup. Szwarc turned pro in 2017, joining French club Arago de Sète for two seasons and being named the Best Middle Blocker of Ligue A in 2018. He then moved to Italian side, Top Volley Cisterna. In January 2020, Szwarc was named best middle blocker at the NORCECA Continental Qualifier as Canada went undefeated to secure their spot at Tokyo 2020.
Syed Muhammad Haseeb Tariq – Swimming
Tariq is a York University graduate from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. During his time at York, he was a member of the York University Lions competitive swim team, holding the position of team treasurer and then team president in his final year. Tariq began swimming competitively at the age of 15, and in 2015 he broke his own York school record by swimming a 27.40s in the 50m backstroke at the 2015 OUA championships. He competed for his native Pakistan at the South Asian Games in 2016, earning four gold medals during the trials in 2015. He won the 50m and 100m freestyle events and also broke two national records in winning the 50m and 100m backstroke events.
Joining the Canadian Olympic team is alumna Andrea Prieur, a certified athletic therapist who will be part of the Health Services team. Prier will be working hard to keep Team Canada healthy during this very unusual Olympic Games. A York alumna, she earned a certificate in sport therapy in 1997. She is well-versed in major multisport events, having served as a therapist at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games; at several Pan American Games, including most recently in 2015; and at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014. She has also worked as part of the integrated support team for the Canadian diving team since 2010 for events around the world. She was also Team Canada’s chief therapist for the 2019 FISU (International University Sports Federation) Summer Games.
Natalie Ghobrial is in Tokyo with the Women’s Softball team as their athletic therapist. Ghobrial is a York University alumna who and former member of the Lions varsity lacrosse team and varsity soccer team.