Biography:

The story goes that when Gavin Schmitt was in grade 11 he stopped playing sports. While working at the local burger joint Fuddruckers, the provincial team coach noticed his height and asked him if he had any interest in volleyball. Schmitt said no, but the next year his mother pushed him to pick up a sport and he ended up in volleyball. While playing for his high school team in grade 12, that same coach saw him at a tournament and told him they would develop him into a player. Just three years later he and his 6’10” frame were named to the national team. In 2014 Schmitt led Canada in scoring in six of seven games at the FIVB World Championships as the team finished a best ever seventh. He was the tournament’s leading scorer at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, where he notched 25 points in both Canada’s semifinal loss to Argentina and the bronze medal win over Puerto Rico. It was also at the Pan Am Games where Schmitt’s ongoing issues with stress fractures reappeared. In the summer of 2013 he had about a dozen stress fractures in his left shin for which he had a rod inserted and held with two screws. Two years later, a small fracture occurred in his right shin. He tried to manage it, but in January 2016 a second identical tibial nailing was performed. He returned to help Canada qualify for Rio 2016 and win the FIVB World League Group 2, earning the team a spot in the elite Group 1 for 2017. Schmitt has played professionally in Greece, France, Turkey, Russia, and South Korea, where he was the league’s star player from 2009-12 with the Daejeon Samsung Bluefangs.

Getting to know…

Family: Mother Joanne and stepfather Dennis Lawreniuk… Older brother Kyle… Getting into the Sport: Had played basketball his entire life until his senior year in high school when he picked up volleyball at the insistence of his mother… Outside Interests: Enjoys cooking and playing off recipes, especially on days off… Started working towards a business degree before joining the national team… Favourite sport to watch is NFL football…Odds and Ends: Favourite motto: “People who dream big and work hard can accomplish great things”… Nickname: Gadget…