Laser Focus - Bowskill & Parkhill at the Pan Am Games

Laser Focus - Bowskill & Parkhill at the Pan Am Games

KINGSTON (July 3, 2015) - The Laser is a challenging, single-handed racing dinghy that requires athleticism, subtle steering, tactical skills, and a lot of determination to master the boat. Brenda Bowskill and Lee Parkhill checked all of the boxes qualifying to represent Team Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games in the Laser class. Bowskill will be sailing the Laser Radial, which has a smaller sail while Parkhill will sail the Laser Standard.

Bowskill is thrilled to be competing in her first Major Games. “Qualifying for Pan Ams is obviously a great accomplishment.” The Toronto native explains. “Being able to experience a Games-like competition isn’t something all athletes get to do, so I am very pleased that I have such a great opportunity ahead of me.” Brenda hopes that Toronto 2015 marks the beginning of a long list of Major Games experiences for her. Bowskill has her sights set on the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio however her longer term ambitions extend beyond to her career passion for nursing. Brenda is currently halfway through her nursing degree at Ryerson University, an occupation she aspires to pursue after her sailing career. Simply put, Bowskill says her two biggest goals are to “win a gold medal in sailing, and finish my education as a nurse practitioner and to eventually have my own practice.”

Laser representative Parkhill also looks forward to Toronto 2015, although it is not the only thing on his mind at the moment. He is currently competing in the Laser World Championships in Kingston, with 64 countries, and 160 competitors vying for the podium. A top spot at the Laser Worlds could secure Lee with the 2016 Olympic berth. Immediately following the world championships, Lee will only have a few days to switch gears to the Pan Am Games. Parkhill reflects on his favorite Pan Am moment back in 2007 when American underdog Andrew Campbell out sailed two-time Olympic Champion and gold medal favorite Robert Scheidt from Brazil in Guadalajara. Parkhill says this performance “gives me faith for July.”

Bowskill and Parkhills talent and tenacity may not be the only reason they succeed at Toronto 2015. Both sailors live in the Greater Toronto Area, and have spent a great deal of time training at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club - the sailing venue for Toronto 2015. They hope this home field advantage gives them an edge over their international competition. Additionally, Bowskill is coming off some recent success after recently winning the Canadian Laser Championships. Parkhill hopes to be in the same position at the end of the week, by achieving a strong finish at World Championships.

The Laser races, as well as the rest of the Pan Am sailing events, are less than two weeks away! They are scheduled to start July 12th, and run until July 19th, with the races on the 18th and 19th being Medal Races. All Medal Races can be viewed from one of Toronto’s most popular urban beaches, Sugar Beach, marking the first time in Pan Am history that the Medal Races can be viewed at a downtown city’s waterfront. The opportunity to view elite level sailing is rare for the general public, and is something worth taking advantage of at Toronto 2015. What is more persuasive, is that the public can support the Canadian sailing team at no cost, as all sailing events are free of charge.