Lewis targeting Rio 2016 farewell
Toronto, Canada, January 8, 2016 – Canada’s Dan Lewis is in no doubt about how he wants to finish his career – with an appearance at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games - the dream ending for a player who turns 40 in April.
The libero is part of Canada’s squad that will compete in the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Saville Centre in Edmonton over the next three days where hosts Canada will take on Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico for a berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, albeit without opposite Gavin Schmitt, who has suffered a shin injury.
The competition winners will qualify automatically and if it is Canada that does so it will end a 24-year wait for the Canucks to compete at an Olympics, a wait that stretches back to the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
“A lot of guys put their hearts and souls in this program and we’ve been close at times, but never made it (to the Olympics),” Lewis told the Toronto Sun. “So I’d be so happy to do this and it would be kind of like doing it for all those guys (on past teams) who didn’t make it.
“I truly believe this team has a shot at a medal (in Rio) if we can break down the door this weekend. We want to go so badly; we’re going to do this.”
If Canada don’t qualify this weekend they may get another chance to reach Rio 2016 – at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May or June 2016.
Whether Canada qualify or not, Lewis is set to retire at the end of the season, be that with Canada at Rio 2016 or with his club, BBTS Bielsko-Biala in the Polish league. It will end a career that has taken Lewis to seven teams on four continents and which earned him a bronze medal from the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games.
“If we don’t make it, I wouldn’t feel like my career has been unfulfilled because this journey has brought me so many great things and has taken me to so many great places and I’ve met so many good people,” he said.
“There have been bad times, but it’s been an amazing, incredible journey,” he said. “But that’s not to say we don’t want this (qualify for Rio) badly. We do.”