High-performance Athletics

Explore 50 years of Excellence


Golden Dreams

From the establishment of McMahon Stadium in the ’60s to the Oval in ’88, UCalgary has long been the incubator of elite sport in Calgary. Champions like Karl Tilleman, Catriona Le May Doan, Mark Tewskbury and Hayley Wickenheiser have all honed their competitive edge here.

Everyday Greatness

Through the years, one city shines for having the most active citizenry in Canada. Calgary’s energy and spirit of adventure can be seen among our city’s legendary bike paths, community soccer fields and rec centres. And when UCalgary’s Olympic-calibre facilities, coaches and trainers open their doors to the public, the will to achieve rolls like a red wave across every community in the city.

1956

FIRST YEAR COURSES OFFERED TOWARD BACHELOR OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION DEGREE

Thus begins a long tradition of athletic excellence at UCalgary.


1957

CALGARY OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (CODA) FORMED

In 1959, CODA bids unsuccessfully for the 1964 Winter Olympic Games. Now known as WinSport Canada, the organization was instrumental in bringing the 1988 Games to Calgary.

1961

PHYSICAL EDUCATION BUILDING COMPLETED ON NEW CAMPUS

New facility contains a swimming pool, diving tower and gymnasium.


1962

LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR J. PERCY PAGE OPENS PHYSICAL EDUCATION BUILDING

Arthur Arnold, deputy minister of public works, presents the building, noting “all the materials in the building were manufactured in the province.”


1966

TUITION FEES

$300 per session for Education and Physical Education.

U.S. SENATOR ROBERT F. KENNEDY ATTENDS CFL EXHIBITION GAME

Calgary vs. Edmonton at McMahon Stadium. Eskimos win 18-3.

1969

UCALGARY'S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM WINS CANADIAN COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Badminton teams won the WCIAA championship for the second year in a row.


1976

UCALGARY SENDS THREE ATHLETES TO MONTREAL OLYMPICS

Basketball player Rommel Raffin and volleyball players Elias Romanchych and Al Taylor are the first Dinos to compete at the Olympics.


1978

ROGER JACKSON APPOINTED DEAN OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION FACULTY

A gold-medal-winning Olympian, Dr. Jackson is instrumental in shaping UCalgary’s athletics programs and in bringing the 1988 Winter Games to Calgary.


1979

CALGARY SELECTED AS CANADIAN CITY TO BID FOR 1988 WINTER OLYMPICS

Canadian Olympic Association chooses Calgary over Vancouver. Bid is eventually successful.


1981

CALGARY WINS BID TO HOST 1988 OLYMPICS

After unsuccessful attempts in 1964, 1968 and 1972, Calgary is named host of the Winter Games. The city and university are completely transformed by the Olympics, which leaves lasting marks on the landscape and culture.

1983

DINOS FOOTBALL TEAM WINS VANIER CUP

Hall of Fame team wins first of three CIS football championships for UCalgary, defeating Queen’s 33-23.


1984

EIGHT DINOS COMPETE IN SUMMER GAMES

UCalgary students participate in Olympic games in Los Angeles, in basketball, diving, field hockey, swimming and volleyball. Swimmer Tom Ponting wins silver in 4x100 medley relay.


1985

UCALGARY ASSUMES OWNERSHIP OF MCMAHON STADIUM

Following the retirement of debentures used to fund construction, and a land agreement with the City of Calgary, both the stadium and the land become property of the university.


1987

JACK SIMPSON GYMNASIUM OPENS

Featuring three gymnasiums, three basketball courts, five volleyball courts and an indoor football/soccer field, the facility is used to help host the Olympics and is home to the Dinos basketball and volleyball teams.

OLYMPIC OVAL OPENS

Nicknamed “the fastest ice on Earth,” North America’s first covered speed skating dome features state-of-the-art climate control capabilities that produce the highest-quality ice possible. Many world records are set at the facility in the ensuing years.

UCALGARY SHOWS SEOUL

Numerous staff and students, including 14 members of various Dinos teams, compete at the 1988 Summer Games. Events include basketball, field hockey, swimming and track and field.


1988

UCALGARY TAKES IN OLYMPIC ATHLETES

Classes suspended for two weeks during the Winter Games. Students move out of residence to make room for Athlete’s Village. Local families provide temporary homes for displaced students.

SPORT MEDICINE CLINIC CREATED

The Sport Medicine Centre has been treating Canada's Olympians, UCalgary Dinos, professional and elite athletes since the 1988 Winter Olympics.

1989

OLYMPICS SPARK RESEARCH PROJECTS

Sociology professor Harry Hiller studies the effects of mega-events, such as the Olympics, on host cities.

RODEO CATASTROPHIC INJURY REGISTRY OPENS

Its mission is to collect and analyze injury incidents to rodeo and bull-riding participants world-wide.


1991

SWIMMINGLY PERFECT

Dinos’ men’s swim team wins ninth national championship in 10 years.


1993

DISNEY ON CAMPUS

Scenes from the movie “Cool Runnings,” loosely based on the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Games, are shot at the Olympic Oval and the Physical Education link.


1995

DINOS HALL OF FAME ESTABLISHED

Initial inductees include: Greg Vavra (Football 1979–1983); Dr. Lou Goodwin (Builder 1959–1979); Dr. Dennis Kadatz (Builder 1964–1985); Theresa (Sekura) Maxwell (Women's Basketball & Volleyball 1962–1966); Janis Paskevich (Women's Basketball 1977–1982).


1998

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE HONOURS ROGER JACKSON

Roger Jackson, director of the Sport Medicine Centre, is awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee, recognizing his contribution to world sport. It is the IOC’s highest honour.


2013

OLYMPIC OVAL CELEBRATES 25 YEARS

For 25 years speed skaters have set world records on the Fastest Ice in the World™.


2015

CALGARY'S FIRST ACUTE SPORTS CONCUSSION CLINIC OPENS

The Sport Medicine Centre is home to Calgary’s first sport concussion clinic. Open to the public, the Acute Sports Concussion Clinic provides care to anyone who may have suffered a concussion while participating in an athletic activity. A doctor’s referral is not required and the goal of the clinic is to see patients within one week from time of injury.