Lyndsay Abdou (left)
Lyndsay is a retired Olympic athlete and world medalist in the sport of wrestling; she is currently teaching full-time as an elementary school teacher, and graduated from Douglas with the SPSC Diploma in 2001.
Lyndsay came to Douglas College in September 1996, initially planning to pursue physiotherapy. However, she was not 100% sure on what she wanted to do, and began by taking a variety of classes to explore more potential paths she could take. The ideas of coaching and teaching were on the back of her mind – being a student athlete at the College, the options were of natural interest to her. Lyndsay ultimately decided to pursue teaching as a career, and graduated with the SPSC Diploma in 2001; she then transferred into the Human Kinetics program at UBC and obtained her degree. From there, she went into teaching and completed a two-year program at UBC – taking a break to go to the Olympics midway.
Afterwards, Lyndsay was hired as a TTOC for the Coquitlam School district in 2006. During this time, she simultaneously worked as a coach: she was the assistant coach for the SFU women’s wrestling team, and also served as one of the provincial development coaches for wrestling in BC. For a typical schedule, Lyndsay would teach during the week, and go away on Fridays and weekends for wrestling competitions; she balanced the two duties – partly teaching as a TTOC and partly coaching – for several years before deciding to become a full-time teacher.
Lyndsay was first introduced to wrestling in grade 12. After trying wrestling in a PE unit and finding it extremely fun, she joined her high school wrestling team and absolutely fell in love with the sport. As wrestling was still then a male-dominated field, Lyndsay recalls how lucky she was to have a coach – who had been a wrestler himself – that was immensely supportive of girls joining and trying out the sport.
After graduating high school, Lyndsay came to Douglas College and continued wrestling; again, she notes the supportive coaches and people she has met at the College, whose outlooks and actions she found greatly helpful and encouraging. She carried on with wrestling as she went onto UBC. Eventually, Lyndsay made the Canadian national team, and competed in tournaments across the world. She represented Canada in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens – the first year women’s wrestling was introduced as a category. In 2006, Lyndsay began transitioning from her position as a dedicated athlete to athlete-coach, shifting more attention to coaching.
Recounting her time at Douglas, Lyndsay notes how she appreciated the closer connection between the instructors and the students:
“…[The experience of being at Douglas] was almost like being in a high school. …[I]t was more intimate; it felt like the instructors worked with you instead of lecturing you. It was more engaging…And I feel like learned a lot more from those smaller classes than, say, some big[ger] classes where you’re in a big lecture hall at UBC.”
Lyndsay notes the little bits and pieces of inspiration given by the instructors in the SPSC program – as well as her wrestling coaches and many others in her life – that have helped her realize what she wanted to accomplish as a career: to teach and give back.