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Rio 2016: Saskatchewan Summer athletes looking to bring Olympic gold home

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WATCH ABOVE: Get to know the Saskatchewan athletes competing in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Summer Olympics which runs from Aug. 5 to 21. Ryan Flaherty reports – Aug 6, 2016

Here’s some details about the Saskatchewan Olympians looking to bring medals back from Rio 2016, which runs from Aug. 5 to 21.

Graham DeLaet of Canada lines up a putt on the eighteenth green during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on April 3, 2015 in Humble, Texas. Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Graham DeLaet – Golf

Hometown: Weyburn

Twitter: @GrahamDeLaet

Weyburn-native Graham DeLaet has been a pro golfer since 2006 and has become one of golf’s best strikers. DeLaet has been a runner-up three times on the PGA Tour and he is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour Canada.

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DeLaet’s best finish at a golf major was in 2014 when he tied for 15th at the PGA Championship.  He also competed as a member of the international team at the 2013 President’s Cup.

READ MORE: Canadian Olympic golfers look to defend century-old medal

This year at the Valspar Championship DeLaet finished fifth which has been his top finish of the golf season.

DeLaet graduated from Boise State University in 2006. He cheers hard for the Boise State Broncos and Calgary Flames when he is not at the golf course.

In 2014, DeLaet founded the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation to support the development of junior golfers.

READ MORE: Golfer Graham DeLaet convinced his best days are still ahead of him

A fun fact about DeLaet is that he marks his golf balls with a maple leaf. He also wears red and white for the final round of every tournament.

DeLaet will play his first Olympic round on Aug. 11.

Jillian Gallay wrestles with an American opponent at a event earlier this year in Frisco, Texas. jilliangallays.com

Jillian Gallays – Wrestling

Hometown: Saskatoon

Twitter: @JillianGallays

Saskatoon’s Jillian Gallay’s is looking to improve upon her bronze medal that she won in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games this year in Rio.

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Gallay’s has fought through numerous injuries in her career including surgeries on her ACL and MCL.

In 2015, Gallay’s was unable to compete at the national trials in December due to an injury, so she was granted a wrestle-off in February. She won that match and went to the Pan American Olympic Qualifier where she went undefeated to earn a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Gallay’s started wrestling in Grade 9. She tried every sport in high school but stuck with wrestling because she found it the most challenging. It also helped her stay positive in school when she would struggle in the classroom due to her dyslexia.

When Gallay’s is not at the gym training, she likes reading, dancing, playing board games and rock climbing.

She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in kinesiology in 2011. After Rio, she would like to go back to school to pursue her MBA.

You can watch Jillian Gallay this year in Rio when the women start wrestling on Aug. 17.

Gavin Schmitt of Canada spikes against Italy in the match between Canada and Italy during the FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Cup Japan 2015 at the Hiroshima Prefectural Sports Center on September 8, 2015 in Hiroshima, Japan. Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images for FIVB

Gavin Schmitt – Indoor Volleyball

Hometown: Saskatoon

Twitter: @SchmittyGav

Perhaps the tallest athlete Saskatchewan has sent to South America, Gavin Schmitt has a six-foot 10 frame and will play in his very first Olympic Games this August.

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The Canadian men’s indoor volleyball squad qualified this year to compete at the Olympics for the first time in almost a quarter-century, with a helping hand from the Saskatoon power hitter.

READ MORE: Gavin Schmitt leads Canada past China 3-0 in volleyball World League play

Schmitt also helped the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Huskies men’s volleyball team qualify for the 2006 national championship.

At the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, he was the tournament’s leading scorer and notched 25 points in Canada’s bronze-medal win over Puerto Rico.

Over the course of his career, he has battled back from multiple leg injuries but was looking like a finely-tuned, volleyball-spiking machine at home during FIVB World League action in June.

WATCH: Gavin Schmitt leading men’s volleyball team to Rio Olympics

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Gavin Schmitt leading men’s volleyball team to Rio Olympics – Jun 21, 2016

Schmitt has played professionally in Greece, France, Turkey, Russia and South Korea.

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The Canadian volleyball team plays their opening match on Aug. 7 against the U.S. The gold medal game is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Taryn Suttie of Canada competes in the women’s shot put during the athletics at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Wednesday July 22, 2015. Mark Blinch / The Canadian Press

Taryn Suttie – Shot Put

Hometown: Hanley

Twitter: @T_Suttie

Hanley’s Taryn Suttie came tenth in the Commonwealth games last year and now she is hoping to improve on that finish in Rio at the Olympics.

Suttie was a double gold medallist at the 2011 CIS Championships where she won at the hammer throw and shot put. She was also named CIS Athlete of the Year in 2011.

In 2015, Suttie won the Canadian National Championship in shot put after placing second in 2012 and 2014.

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Suttie first participated in track and field in phys. ed class at the age of 13.

When Suttie is not training, she works at a gym in Kamloops, B.C. and enjoys spending time at the lake.

You can watch Taryn Suttie compete in shot put on August 12.

Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton competes in women’s pentathlon high jump group A at the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in the Ergo Arena in the Polish coastal town of Sopot, on March 7, 2014. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP/Getty Images

Brianne Theisen-Eaton – Heptathlon

Hometown: Humboldt

Twitter: @btheiseneaton

Humboldt will no doubt be cheering on their homegrown Olympic star all the way to the finish line this summer – again.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton made her Olympic debut in 2012, also competing in the heptathlon. She finished in 11th place in London.

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Theisen-Eaton is the Canadian record holder in the heptathlon, setting the bar high at 6808 points while winning the Hypo-Meeting in 2015, breaking her own record set the previous year in Austria as well.

In 2015, she chose not to compete in the heptathlon at the Pan American Games in Toronto, instead capturing bronze with the 4x400m relay and finishing fourth in the long jump.

READ MORE: Brianne Theisen-Eaton wins world pentathlon with thrilling 800m

Theisen-Eaton had an impressive collegiate career at the University of Oregon, where she became the first Canadian woman to win seven National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships. She won three heptathlon and pentathlon titles as well as one with the 4x400m relay.

Aside from being a member of Team Canada at Rio 2016, she is also one-half of “Team Eaton.”

Her husband, American Ashton Eaton, is the 2012 Olympic champion and world record holder in the decathlon. He is among the 126 athletes named to the U.S. track and field team for Rio 2016.

Fans of the Olympic powerhouse couple can follow their careers through joint Twitter and Instagram accounts, “We Are Eaton.”

The women’s heptathlon events will be held on Aug. 12 and 13.

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Honourable Saskatchewan mentions:

Kaylyn Kyle #6 of Canada watches the ball during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group A match against the Netherlands at Olympic Stadium on June 15, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Final score between Canada and the Netherlands 1-1. Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images

Kaylyn Kyle – Women’s Soccer (Alternate)

Hometown: Saskatoon

Twitter: @KaylynKyle

In June, Canada named the 18 athletes representing the country in women’s soccer at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Kaylyn Kyle didn’t make the final cut, but is listed as one of four alternates who could get the call up if there are any injuries.

READ MORE: Football vs futebol: Players challenge each other ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup

The Saskatoon product, who now plays professionally in Florida, spent a season with the Huskies women’s soccer team during her studies at University of Saskatchewan from 2006-10.

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Kyle helped guide the Canadian squad to a quarter-final appearance at the 2015 FIFA World Cup on home soil.

In October 2015, she was acquired by the Orlando Pride for the team’s inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.

WATCH: Olympians visit northern Saskatchewan to inspire youth

 

The midfielder has played over 100 games with Team Canada, including being a part of the 2012 bronze-medal winning squad in London. They captured Canada’s first medal in a summer team sport at the Olympic Games since Berlin 1936.

The Canadian women’s soccer team’s next game at the Rio 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament is against Zimbabwe on Saturday. Both matches to decide gold, silver and bronze medalists are on Aug. 19.

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Canada’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis gives brief during the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup match between Australia and Canada at City Arena on October 3, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. Getty Images

Lisa Thomaidis – Women’s Basketball (Head Coach)

Hometown: Saskatoon

Twitter: @LisaThomaidis

Canada’s Olympians competing in Brazil will be guided by some of the best coaches in the sports world. One of them is Lisa Thomaidis, all the way from her hometown of Saskatoon.

This month, the 44-year-old bench boss will turn her attention to putting the Canadian women’s basketball team on the podium.

Eighteen years ago, Thomaidis undertook the monumental task of coaching the struggling U of S women’s basketball team, which had one of the worst records in the country.

READ MORE: Focus key to Huskies first national women’s basketball title

Fast-forward to today and the Huskies are the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national champions under Thomaidis’ leadership.

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From 2001-12, she was an assistant coach with the Canadian Women’s National Team. At London 2012, they made a dramatic run to the quarter-finals.

In 2013, Thomaidis was appointed head coach of the national team and helped guide Canada to gold at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto last summer.

Thomaidis and Team Canada hit the court for their first game against China on Aug. 6.

WATCH: Golden summer for Saskatchewan Huskies coach Lisa Thomaidis

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