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Three U of G grads heading to Winter Olympics

Grads competing in men's bobsleigh and women's skeleton, as well as officiating men's hockey

A trio of University of Guelph grads will be participating in the Winter Olympics held in Beijing, China this month – two as competitors and one as an official.

On the competitive side are Mirela “Mimi” Rahneva, 33, who’s set to make her second Olympic showing in women’s skeleton, and four-man bobsleigh team member Cody Sorensen, 35, who is attending his third Olympics.

Rahneva studied tourism management from 2006 to 2010, explains a news release from the school. During that time she played for the Gryphons women’s rugby team and became a three-time Ontario University Athletics champion and a four-time Interuniversity Sports (now known as U Sports) bronze medallist.

After graduation she went on to play for the Canadian national sevens rugby team and attempted a switch to bobsleigh. However, the release explains, she was “too small” for that sport and was encouraged to try skeleton in 2012.

She began competing the following year and has six podium finishes at the World Cup bronze at games in Germany and Switzerland during 2021-2022.

Rahneva finished 12 during the 2019 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea.

Before making the switch to bobsleigh, Sorensen was a member of the Gryphons men’s track and field team. While at the school from 2004 to 2008, he studied management, economics and finance, and also became a three-time national medallist in the men’s 60 metres.

The first time Sorensen, 35, was part of the Olympics, he served as an alternate for the Canadian men’s team in 2010 Vancouver Olympics and followed that up as an official team member in Sochi, Russia four years later, when the sled finished 29th.

He has won bronze at three 2010-2011 World Cups.

Joining the officiating side is Guelph's Dustin McCrank, 37, who will be making calls as a linesman, alongside two Canadian referees, during the men’s hockey tournament.

McCrank was recruited to the U of G’s men’s hockey team for his rookie season in 2006-2007 and during his five years of study also competed for the school’s track and field team in weight throw and as part of the men’s rugby squad.

He took gold during the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships for weight throw in 2009-2010, along with silver medals both the year before and after.

McCrank returned to the Gryphons as weight throw coach in 2014 and 2015.

He began his officiating career in 2006 with the Ontario Hockey Association, where he supervised two Queen’s Cup games and conducted six league finals starting in 2008. In 2015 he took officiating positions with both the American Hockey League and the then-East Coast Hockey League.

The Winter Olympics run Feb. 4 to 20, with women’s skeleton taking place Feb. 11 and 12, and four-men bobsleigh Feb. 19 and 20. The men’s hockey tournament runs Feb. 9 to 20.