Bachelor of Human Kinetics, 1999
1999 Human Kinetics graduate Nikola Girke is among the very few from UBC to play a UBC Varsity sport then achieve Olympic status in a different sport. To add to this, she made the transition from that Olympic sport to become an Olympian in yet another event.
While a student at UBC the West Vancouver native played rugby for UBC’s Varsity women’s team achieving Academic All-Canadian status in 2000.
However sailing was her passion and while at UBC had the distinction of being Canada’s three-time Youth Sailing champion and Laser 2 Women’s World champion. In 2004 she competed for Canada at the Athens Olympic Games crewing the two person 470 class sailboat to 13th place.
In 2005 Girke successfully transitioned to her former sporting expertise, windsurfing, and the five-time Canadian champion became the only Canadian to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in windsurfing, this now her second Olympic sport.
In 2012 Nikola finished 10th in the World RSX Windsurfing Championships and again qualified for and represented Canada in the windsurfing event at the 2012 London Games, finishing 10th.
Now an experienced three-time Olympian – to add to her UBC Varsity rugby competition – Nikola feels her ultimate goal of an Olympic gold remains within reach. And judging by the degree of her dedication to fitness and her desire to succeed, UBC and Kinesiology could in the future see among their graduates that all too rare Olympic gold medal winner.
Written by Fred Hume, UBC Historian