Olympic rower Darcy Marquardt didn’t bring down the house with her speech, but she came close, delivering one of (if not the best) keynote speeches in seven years of the Vikes Championship Breakfast at McKinnon Gym.
Tuesday’s sold 1,400 seats (600 showed up to eat) and raised $475,000, bringing the total raised since 2008 to more than $2.8 million.
Marquardt spun a simple but effective tale, taking breakfasters to the moment she first decided to try rowing (because her friend in the Emily Carr residence had written it on her calendar), to what went through her mind in the longest five minutes of her life, waiting for the start at the 2012 London Olympics.
“Once I made it onto the Vikes’ eight, I remember training and the Olympic team started behind us, so I was able to watch them as they eventually zoomed right past us. I was walking shoulder to shoulder at the rowing club with Olympians, and I didn’t even realize it, I thought, ‘they look just like me.'”
It was 10 years from the time Marquardt first competed for the Vikes to the 2012 Olympics, where she was part of the women’s eight that won silver. Back then there was far less student-athletic scholarships. Testament to that is the fact Marquardt worked for most of her Vikes career as a lifeguard at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
“For seven years now this event has supported student-athlete scholarships, which we know are a crucial determinant for prospective student-athletes in choosing their post-secondary institutions,” said Clint Hamilton, director of athletics and recreation.
UVic matched the first $150,000 of profit raised from 2008 to 2012, and $200,000 in each of the last two years.
Marquardt joins the list of UVic Championship Breakfast keynote speakers Chris Hebb (2008), Bob Lenarduzzi (2009), Stephanie Dixon (2010), Adam Kreek (2011), Pierre Lafontaine (2012) and Dr. Paul E. Zehr (2013).
Vikes Championship Breakfast Funds raised:2013: $492,0002012: $462,6062011: $424,6852010: $377,4052009: $338,1962008: $330,961