Famed athletes, former boarders

A tradition of producing excellence

Attend boarding school and you participate in a tradition of excellence that has produced many of the best athletes in sports history. For example, did you know that the three greatest decathletes in Olympic history - Bob Mathias, Jim Thorpe and Daley Thompson - all went to boarding school? Have you heard that Sidney Crosby would not be the same player he is without a year of boarding school?

The list of great Canadian athletes who attended boarding school is lengthy. Scores of NHL players, dozens of Olymic medal winning rowers and numerous others went on to greatness thanks to boarding school beginnings. You would not be out of line in starting a Canadian boarding school Hall of Fame. In fact, if you were, we would like to submit a list of athletes that would merit immediate consideration.

Nominees: Canadian Boarding Sports Hall of Fame

Scott Frandsen & Dave Calder

Scott Frandsen & Dave Calder both graduated from Brentwood College School. They took home silver in the Men’s coxless pair at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

They present a compelling example of the bonds that form in boarding school, as Frandsen suffered a number of setbacks in international competitions before re-teaming with his old schoolmate - and successfully medalling.

Steve Nash

What can we say about Steve Nash that hasn't already been said? Winner of back-to-back NBA MVP awards, seven time all star and inevitable basketball Hall-of-Famer, Nash is a proud graduate of St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia.

Nash credits his leadership development to his boarding school days, especially his exposure to international students. Nash says it "was nice for us to learn lessons of other cultures and travels, and for us to be exposed to that diversity gave us a need to kind of go out there and have a thirst for the world."

Brett Hull

Brett Hull, NHL star, was the son of a legend (Bobby) who established his own legend. He currently holds third place all time for goals scored (741) behind only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. Hull played for nearly 20 years, won two Stanley Cups and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

He attended St. Johns' Ravenscourt in Winnipeg, a school whose other alumni include current NHLers Alex Steen and Tyler Arnason.

Jim Elder

Jim Elder went to the Olympics, not once, not twice but.... six times! In fact, between 1956 and 1984, the Equestrian won one Gold and one Bronze, along with two Pan Am Gold Medals and a World Championship Gold.

A graduate of Upper Canada College in Toronto, Elder is also a member of the Order of Canada, has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and is a co-founder of the Toronto Polo Club.

Three to Watch

Here are some boarding school grads we're keeping an eye on. Why not take a closer look at how boarding offers you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the sport you love? Maybe your name will be added to the list below.

Ryan Semple has competed in the Olympics twice - in 2006 and 2010 - and counting. You can be sure that the Ashbury College grad is gearing up for 2014 as we speak. Semple's sport of choice is alpine skiing and he is a proud member of the Canadian Olympic team that set records for gold medals in 2010. Between '06 and '11, Semple improved from 35th in the Downhill to 15th in the Final Standings.

Jordan Eberle

Jordan Eberle is poised to join a list of truly great NHL players who call Athol Murray College of Notre Dame their alma mater. Eberle, part of a cadre of skilled youth on the Edmonton Oilers is only one Notre Dame grad worth watching. Other up-and-coming Hounds alumni include Sean Couturier, Rene Bourque, Tyler Myers and Jaden Schwartz. Alumni include undeniably great players including Brad Richards, Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and others.

Jeff Batchelor graduated from Appleby College in 2006 to move onto Queens University and a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. Batchelor continues to improve to the point where (as of 2011) he has had to set aside his studies because of his success on the circuit, qualifying for the World Cup Circuit. Batchelor had a disappointing turn at the 2010 Olympics but he's looking to redeem himself in 2014.

All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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