University of Calgary

Racing towards the Olympics

UToday HomeJanuary 28, 2013

Photo courtesy of John FergusonPhoto courtesy of Kalu PhotographyLike many students, John Ferguson took a break from studies this past summer to work. However, Ferguson’s summer job is a little different than most students. Ferguson is working towards his lifelong dream: to represent Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil alongside his twin brother, Arthur. The duo are rising stars on the international sailing circuit.

John is also a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Ferguson decided the University of Calgary was where he wanted to go to school after recruiters from the university visited his high school in Rio de Janeiro. Ferguson felt the earth sciences programs at the University of Calgary, and the active lifestyle that Calgary offered, were very appealing.

Between semesters and over reading breaks, John flies around the world to compete, logs training hours at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto, and fundraises to support their dream and the purchase of a new Olympic-class sailing boat.

“I think that the city is going through great growth and is moving forward confidently,” says Ferguson. “The university is moving along the same path, especially with international engagement. More students are international citizens, and the University of Calgary recognizes that.”

The University of Calgary’s support has been crucial to his success so far. Ferguson has worked with his advisor, Carina Huggins, at the Student Success Centre on a range of topics — from academic planning and performance, to goal setting and time management.

“It is possible to thrive as both an athlete and a student. Rather than my sport being an obstacle to my studies, my advisor has helped me to see it as a rich opportunity that complements my studies,” says Ferguson. “Once you realize that, it is much easier to take control of your path with confidence. My professors are excited about our upcoming race in Miami and can’t wait to hear about it. They are all very supportive.”

Ferguson acknowledges that it is not easy juggling such a busy schedule. “One of the most important things a student-athlete needs to understand is that you have committed to doing something that not many other people are doing. There will be some sacrifices, and you can’t do it half-hearted. This type of decision takes complete focus and dedication,” he says.

Learn more about this dynamic student-athlete in action and view spectacular videos from the camera mounted to the duo’s boat.