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Olympians get star treatment at Calgary Stampeders football game

Two of Canada's long-distance Olympic runners were invited to the Calgary Stampeders football game on Sunday after racing in Rio.

Calgary Stampeders

Sub us in, coach.

Jessica O’Connell and Maria Bernard were among the Canadian Olympians hosted at a Canadian Football League (CFL) game on Sunday. The two distance runners were joined by Olympic gold medallist Erica Wiebe and three other athletes who represented Canada at the Rio Olympics.

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The two Calgary-based runners were brought to the field before Sunday’s professional football game between the local Calgary Stampeders and the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The CFL is the highest level of gridiron football in Canada. The game was held at McMahon Stadium, located between the downtown core and the University of Calgary.


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The Hudson’s Bay gear that Olympians wore outside of competition at the Olympics matched well with the red and black uniforms of the Stampeders. The Olympic runners got to see a hometown victory as Calgary defeated Hamilton 30-24.

Before the game, the small group of athletes got the chance to throw around the football on the field, grab some selfies and snap a group photo with the team’s cheerleaders.

O’Connell represented Canada at the Olympics in the women’s 5,000m. The 27-year-old finished 26th overall and did not advance out of the heats.

Bernard, 23, was one of three Canadians to run in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase and finished 42nd overall and too did not qualify out of the heats. Fellow Canadian Geneviève Lalonde set the national record and advanced to the finals by virtue of running 9:30.24.

Canada came away with six medals at the Rio Olympics, the nation’s highest count since the 1932 Games.

McMahon Stadium was the venue for the opening and closing ceremony at the 1988 Winter Olympics.