Happy Canada Day! Or as our neighbors up north would say, “Joyeux Jour du Canada!”

Today, July 1st is Canada’s form of Independence Day, so I thought I would elaborate on the many common connections that the University of Alabama has with our fellow North American country.

Ever since the Capstone has started expanding outside of the state, many foreign student-athletes have taken their talents south and assisted the Crimson Tide in its athletic success.

Shallon Olsen, a sophomore gymnast out of Vancouver has garnered success in college with accolades such as All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman awards in 2019. In addition, Olsen earned SEC Academic Honor Roll as a freshman. During the collegiate season, the British Columbia native helped the Crimson Tide earn a 3rd place medal in the SEC Championships.

In a professional career, Olsen competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and earned medals in the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships, the 2018 World Championships, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the 2019 Pan American Games.

On the baseball diamond, Owen Diodati is trying to pave his way to the Big League. The freshman from Niagara Falls, Ontario was selected as a Freshman all-American by Collegiate Baseball News in 2020. Diodati batted .309 and hit five home runs. He also batted in 22 runs- a team high- and scored 13 runs himself.

Diodati was selected in the 2019 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, but the outfielder decided to join the Alabama squad instead.

Nate Oats’ squad over at Coleman Coliseum features two Canadians. Keon Ambrose and Josh Primo of Toronto are looking to make a huge impact on a Crimson Tide basketball team that has high aspirations for next season.

In club sports, the Alabama Hockey Division 1 team features three players from Canada, hailing from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

Finally, on the gridiron, the Crimson Tide only features one Canadian- John Metchie III. The sophomore receiver from Brampton, Ontario played in all 13 games.

In return, the Crimson Tide has sent three former players to the Canadian Football League- Johnny Dwight with the Ottawa RedBlacks, Cyrus Kouanjio with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, and Ardarius Stewart with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

So as you prepare for your own 4th of July celebration, remember to acknowledge the talent that our brothers and sisters up north have sent us!

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