Alumni help Olympians go for the gold

August 3, 2016

Two MSU College of Education alumni are headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Lori Dithurbide and Tshepang Tshube are traveling with their respective home countries, Canada and Botswana, as mental supports for athletes and leaders before, during and after the games. Dithurbide and Tshube arrived in Rio ahead of the games, which will run from Aug. 5-21.

Lori Dithurbide. Photo courtesy of Camilla Holmvall

Photo courtesy of Camilla Holmvall.

Dithurbide is an assistant professor of kinesiology in Dalhousie University’s School of Health and Human Performance and is the lead mental performance consultant at the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic (CSCA), both of which are based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Through her work with the CSCA, Dithurbide, Ph.D. ’11 (Kinesiology), became connected with athletes who will perform as part of the Canadian Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team. During the Olympics, Dithurbide will serve as the main mental performance consultant for those athletes, as well as others through the CSCA who will be competing on behalf of Team Canada.

“It has always been both a professional and personal goal to attend the Olympics as part of Team Canada, and I am humbled to be able to attend the Olympics in Rio,” Dithurbide said.

As the mental performance consultant, she will assist the athletes, coaches and staff in Rio with everything from performance (executing the routines) to dealing with distractions or injuries, should they occur.

Dithurbide is excited to be around the world’s best athletes, and the best sport scientists in the world, and she credits MSU for some of her success.

“My time at MSU was valuable, as not only did I complete my Ph.D. with a specialization in sport psychology, but it also allowed me to interact with faculty and other students who shared the same goals as me,” she said. “It helped me prepare to work with and interact daily with other sport scientists in other disciplines and work collaboratively.”

Tshepang TshubeTshube, Ph.D. ’14 (Kinesiology), will serve as the sport psychologist on behalf of Team Botswana, which consists of 12 athletes, four coaches, one physiotherapist and a team manager. He will work with the entire Olympic team, which includes athletes competing in track, swimming and judo.

Tshube was appointed for the position in 2015.

“My primary role is to conduct mental skills training for athletes and also provide guidance to the team leadership on creating the most conducive and motivational climate for athletes,” Tshube said. Apart from the Olympics, Tshube serves as a lecturer at the University of Botswana, teaching sport and exercise psychology classes.

With the opening ceremony approaching, Tshube is excited to serve his country and its athletes at the Olympic Games in Rio.

“This represents the pinnacle in sports and I have been given a unique opportunity to use my knowledge acquired from Michigan State University to serve my nation,” Tshube added. MSU Kinesiology Professor Deborah Feltz was the advisor for Tshube, Dithurbide and Nicole Forrester (see below) in their time at MSU. “This is a major highlight in my career. I can’t wait … to watch Team Botswana showcase [their] talent to the world.”

MSU College of Education alumni have a history at the Olympic Games. Read about Nicole Forrester’s journey (pg. 50), and see what she is up to currently.