At Embry-Riddle’s track and field facility, you’ll usually see our talented women’s and men’s teams training for their next meet. Both teams are having a great year, with the women’s team ranked No. 1 and the men’s team ranked No. 4 in the NCAA II South Region. But this week they are also sharing the track with Olympic athletes from Canada who are here training on our world-class track.
With their eyes set on the gold, Canadian athletes hoping to compete in the world championships and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics are training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the fifth consecutive year.
The Athletics Canada team is in Daytona Beach through Sunday with 26 athletes, including world champions and Paralympic medalists, training on Embry-Riddle’s top-of-the-line Mondotrack surface, which has been used on the tracks at numerous Olympic games, including London 2012 and Beijing 2008.
According to the manufacturer, the Mondo Super X prefabricated synthetic rubber track surface is composed of two different layers vulcanized together. The rubber-based top layer provides elasticity and helps boost an athlete’s performance.
“It’s a fast track and that’s what we like,” said Canadian athlete Diane Roy, who has been competing for 26 years, including six Paralympics and six world championships. She’s received numerous medals, including two silver medals in the 2004 Athens Paralympics and one silver and two bronze in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
The Canadians enjoy not only the fast nature of the track but the convenient location near Daytona Beach International Airport and hotels. Some athletes will also be competing in the Commonwealth Games in April in Australia.
“It’s a great track and the Embry-Riddle crew here looks after us. It’s a very comfortable environment,” said Paralympic medalist Rick Reelie, Athletics Canada Wheelchair Event Coach.
The warmer Florida weather is also a big plus compared to the frigid Canadian weather this time of year, the athletes noted.
You can watch the Paralympians training at our track and field facility in the morning and early afternoons through Sunday.
The Eagles’ next home track meet is the Embry-Riddle Spikes Classic, April 6 and 7.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.