Alumnae On Track and On Field at Olympics

UConn alumna and Canadanian Phylicia George (left) competes in the women's 100-metre hurdle semifinals at the Olympic Stadium during the Summer Olympics in London in 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Hurdler Phylicia George '10, left, is one of two former Huskies, along with soccer player Stephanie Labbe '09, who are competing for Team Canada in Rio. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

UConn fans who want to cheer for Huskies at the Olympics have a variety of options. Among those competing are a pair of Canadian alumnae, one in track and field and another in soccer. Former UConn hurdler Phylicia George ’10 and soccer goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé ’09 will both represent their country.

About Phylicia George

Phylicia George began running hurdles at 15, starting by racing her dad in parking lots. Her Olympic dream was sparked by watching the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The Rio games are her second Olympics: she also competed in the London Olympics in 2012.

George graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 2010, and within a year, she broke the 13-second barrier for the first time in the 100m hurdles.

She finished second at the Canadian Championships, qualifying her for the IAAF World Championships, where she made the final. At the 2012 Canadian Championships, she won the 100m and finished second in the 100m hurdles, qualifying her for the London Olympic Games in two events, although she ultimately decided to focus just on the hurdles. The decision paid off, as she advanced to the final, finishing sixth with a personal best time of 12.65 seconds.

George was forced to sit out the entire 2013 season with a hamstring problem. She was able to return to competition in 2014, which included a trip to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In 2015 she finished second at the Canadian championships, before posting a fifth place finish at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. In her first trip to the IAAF World Championships in four years, she came just shy of advancing to the 100m hurdles final.

About Stephanie Labbé

Stephanie Labbé
Stephanie Labbé.

Good things seem to come in threes for soccer goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. Labbé speaks three languages and grew up playing three sports.

And Labbé has played for three teams since graduating from UConn, including her current post on the Olympics roster of her nation’s team.

After earning a bachelor’s in early childhood development and education in 2009, Labbé played in the highest women’s league in Sweden. At the age of 21, she made her debut for Canada. And this year, she signed on to play for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League.

“I can still remember my first real burning desire to represent Canada while playing the sport I love,” Labbé notes on her website. “I was 15 years old, and missed out on a selection for a U-16 National Team camp.  I remember going into my National Training Center in Edmonton and telling my coach that they had made a mistake, and I would prove them wrong.”

Labbé has represented Canada at two youth World Championships, the Pan American Games, the Women’s World Cup, and was selected as an alternate for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games. She has been one of just three goalkeepers for Canada since 2008.