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The #RefsofRio and The 2016 Olympics

RefsofRio wrapup image 1

The #RefsofRio and The 2016 Olympics

Referees and Umpires Using Social Media to Share their Dreams

Officials101 header RefsofRio

RefsofRio wrapup image 1For the 1st time ever, referees and umpires join together and share their Olympic experiences with other sports officials around the world. It was a fascinating look at the greatest sporting event on the planet, from a perspective that has been all but ignored throughout the history of The Olympic Games.

I want to start by saying congratulations to all of the #RefsofRio. What an amazing experience it was to have you all sharing your dreams and stories with us. I am both humbled that you have done this and honoured to have been a part of it. Thank you so much for sharing your stories and photographs. I have collected and saved as many of them as I could and posted them to help inspire future Olympian Officials.

This collection of efforts and heroics of the #RefsofRio is the beginning of what I hope becomes a treasure trove of heroes for the young umpires and referees of the future. The goal when building the Olympics Page was to create a collection where sports officials can dream, learn and find heroes that can inspire and motivate. With the incredible performances put on by the #RefsofRio in a variety of sports, this collection is off to a fantastic start and I am proud to share it with you.

The 2016 Olympic Games Medal Count for Officials101 Olympic Officials, also known as The #RefsofRio is phenomenal:

5 Gold Medal Games
2 Bronze Medal Games
3 Members of Teams that worked all events including the medal rounds

There were also 4 first-time Olympians who performed with excellence and shared the sights and sounds of their dreams coming true while in Rio. With the valuable experience they just gained, they will be looking ahead to Tokyo in 2020. Congratulations to Fanneke Alkemade, Kylie Seymour, Melissa Trivic and Coen van Bunge, all Field Hockey Umpires, for your Olympic experiences. You were all awesome and I thank you for sharing your dreams with us. It was a fascinating journey along the Road To Rio and I look forward to watching your careers blossom as you all prepare for Tokyo.

The 3 Team Members
that were vital in all rounds of their sports are Alan Baser, Sailing Umpire, Jim Cullingham, WaterPolo Officials Coordinator, Steve Rintoul, PGRA Golf Referee.

Alan Baser attended to all of the Sailing events and no less than 109 post-race meetings. He was a Chief Umpire during the Games and did a fantastic job sharing his experiences with us. Upon returning home, Alan told me that he had a great experience and really enjoyed the Games.

Jim Cullingham was behind the scenes making things happen for the WaterPolo events and and his WaterPolo schedules were posted daily.

The PGRA Referees and Steve Rintoul were all in Rio, watching over the historic return of Golf to the Olympics. They did a great job posting photos and news while they were there.

Everyone involved with these three teams of officials would have participated in medal rounds.

Two Bronze Medal Games

Sarah Wilson
Women’s Field Hockey
Germany win the Bronze Medal
Germany 2 – 1 New Zealand

Sarah worked this game with Irene Presenqui, Carolina de la Fuente and Carol Metchette. As with most of the Field Hockey umpire teams in the 2016 Games, the performance of this team was stellar.

Steve Anderson
Basketball Referee
Spain wins the Men’s Bronze Medal
Spain 89 – 88 Australia

Steve is a member of the NBA Referees Association and he was awarded an Umpire position in the Bronze Medal game between Spain and Australia. This was a controversial and hard fought game that was an exciting battle right to the end.

Five Gold Medal Games

Alhambra Nievas
Women’s Rugby Referee
Australia wins the Gold
Australia 24 – 17 New Zealand

Alhambra is one of the top officials in the world. Although I was woefully unprepared for the possibility, I was not even slightly surprised when she was awarded the Gold Medal Game for the first ever Olympics Women’s Rugby Sevens. This is the first ever Gold Medal game by an Officials101 Official, and an unusual and unexpected milestone for the page. It opened the gates for the amazing days to follow.

Guro Roen and Kjersti Arntsen
Women’s Handball Referees
Russia wins the Gold Medal
Russia 22 – 19 France

Guro and Kjersti are an amazing team, beyond the ordinary. They have their own hashtag – #ArntsenRoen. Two of the most exceptional referees in the world, in any sport, their selections to the Golden Game were well earned, and deserved. Their performances were flawless and the game was an exciting match that earned the sport a lot of new international fans. You can expect to see a lot more of this team in the future.

Deon Nel
Men’s Field Hockey Umpire
Argentina wins the Gold Medal
Argentina 4 – 2 Belgium

Deon Nel was the video umpire in the officiating team led by John Wright that included Christian Blasch and Adam Kearns. Although Belgium was able to score first in this game, Argentina scored an empty net goal in the final minute to take the gold.

Michelle Joubert
Women’s Field Hockey Umpire
Great Britain won the Gold Medal in a shootout
Great Britain 3 – 3 Nederlands

This was probably one of the most exciting team matches in the 2016 Olympics. The officiating team of Michelle Joubert, Laurine Delforge, Soledad Iparraguirre and Lisa Roach was spectacular and won new fans for the sport all over the world. Michelle is one of the top sports officials in the world today, and her leadership of this group of elites showed us why. An incredible performance by all.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is the first Olympic Games for Officials101. It was a totally unique experience to watch the Games from the angle of the officials and the medal games were actually an unimagined surprise. When I saw that Alhambra Nievas had been awarded the Golden Game for the women’s rugby, I quickly realized that she was the first, but certainly not the last, medallist amongst the #RefsofRio.

Not all of the officials using the #RefsofRio hashtag were followers of Officials101. I was thrilled to see others pick it up and contribute. I have a suspicion there were more than a few followers who were also at the Games and I just missed them. For you, I mean no disrespect to any of you and extend my congratulations to all officials who were selected to be in Rio. It is a career achievement that I know you are all very proud of.

There was one Twitter post that I saw early in the Olympics where somebody was making a post about the Refugee Team. I thought that if we were going to share this hashtag with anyone, it would sure be an honour to share it with them, but I never did see it get used like that again.

With the experience gained by Officials101 during these Games, we will try to use what we have learned and be even better for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Let our Olympics Resources and Newsfeed be the place to get all your Olympic Officials news, names, and dreamworks!

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these 101 Collections:

Olympics – tons of great Olympic links and articles

Officials101 – 2016 Olympics Articles:

Michelle Joubert Field Hockey 
Alhambra Nievas Rugby  
Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey 
Kylie Seymour Field Hockey

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Kylie Seymour Field Hockey Umpire

Kylie Seymour FieldHockey Umpire

Kylie Seymour

Kylie Seymour image 1

2016 Olympic Field Hockey Umpire


Kylie Seymour
 2016 Olympic Field Hockey Umpire
 Speaks with us before the Olympics
Without Officials it is just a practice!

Kylie Seymour image 2Kylie Seymour is one of the top field hockey umpires in the world. She is now in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games as the hard work and dedication to her career has been rewarded with a trip to the top sporting event in the world. Kylie is very excited about having this opportunity to fulfill one of her dreams, and the anticipation of this special event has been a very thrilling time for her.

Back home in Sydney, Australia, Kylie is a school teacher known to her students as Miss Seymour. The kids in her school are eagerly watching their favourite ‘Miss Seymour’ as she has been working her way through the biggest tournaments in the world in preparation for the Olympic Games. Even when officiating at the Champions Trophy in London a few weeks ago, Kylie would stay in Kylie Seymour image 3contact with ‘her kids’ and share her experiences through a blog she keeps for them. It is heartwarming to see the love in their relationship.

Even during the hustle and bustle of the last little while, Miss Seymour wanted to take a moment to talk about the support she has gotten from the students and the faculty at her school and in her community. “I would not have been able to achieve what I have in my umpiring career without the constant belief and encouragement from the school community at Our Lady Help of Christians in Rosemeadow, Sydney. This is my seventh year at the school and they have been so supportive of my dreams and goals. They have been with me on the journey from my very first Australian Hockey League event in 2010 and first international match in 2011 to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and now the Olympic Games in 2016. I really cannot thank them enough.

Kylie Seymour image 4Kylie Seymour began her umpire career as a young teenager looking to make $5 per game. She enjoyed it so much she decided to keep on umpiring and that decision has led to a very successful international career filled with friendships, travel and the excitement of being in the middle of some of the biggest games her sport has to offer.

John Robinson was Kylie Seymour’s coach and mentor when she was just a young hockey player. He was the first to encourage Kylie to become an umpire. Lisa Roach is a former elite umpire from Australia who had an amazing career of her own as Seymour rose through the ranks. Roach became Kylie’s friend and umpire mentor as she progressed onto the international stage. She helped to guide Seymour through the new experiences and teach her what it takes to be one of the best in the world. Kylie still remains very close to Lisa and affectionately calls her Roachy when she speaks of her friend and mentor. Lisa is Kylie Seymour image 5working as a video umpire during the Olympics

Kylie tells me that her favourite game is now “…the semi final I did with her [Roach] at Champions Trophy in Mendoza, Argentina 2014 where she retired – Netherlands vs. Argentina – the 2 best teams in the world!” I posted a link below to the Lisa Roach interview after that exciting match. There is also a link to an interview that Kylie gave where she talks about how important Lisa has been to her.

Since her first appearance on the international scene in 2011, Kylie Seymour has had the opportunity to officiate some of the top games at the top venues around the world. Here is a list of just a few of her many accomplishments:

  • First international appearance 4 Nations Tournament in Argentina 2011
  • Olympic Qualifier Kakamigahara 2012
  • Champions Challenge Dublin 2012
  • Junior World Cup Monchengladbach 2013
  • Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014
  • Champions Trophy London 2016
  • Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016

Kylie Seymour image 6Things have been a little hectic for Kylie this year after just returning home from London and the 2016 Champions Trophy and then immediately continuing on with her Olympic preparations. The big days are upon us now and yet Kylie still took a few moments out of her busy schedule to send us a few recent photos and share some thoughts. She is bubbling with energy and very excited and it has been fun watching her progress through the year and chatting when she had the chance.

Kylie Seymour is a wonderful young lady and she has been a real treat to chat with. Congratulations Kylie on your appointment to the Olympics and all the future thrills that are coming your way. Thank you for sharing with us!

Thank you for reading!

Here are a number of links to Kylie and many of the articles I used as background reading.

Kylie Seymour Twitter 

Meet Kylie SeymourHockey Australia

Miss Seymour’s Hockey Adventures Blog

Kylie and Lisa in Argentina 

Kylie Seymour Olympics Announcement Interview with local newspaper

Another Kylie Seymour Olympics Interview with a local newspaper

Highlights of Kylie at 2016 Champions Trophy NZL 1 – 0 GB 

The Lisa Roach Links

NSW Umpiring Legend Lisa Roach Retires 
Kylie shares her admiration This is a .pdf file 

If you enjoy this article, you also may enjoy these 101 Collections:

Field Hockey 

You may also enjoy our chats with these Olympics Officials:

Michelle Joubert Field Hockey  2016 Women’s Field Hockey Gold Medal Game
Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey

Alhambra Nievas Rugby 2016 Women’s Rugby first ever Gold Medal Game

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Alhambra Nievas Rugby Referee

Alhambra Nievas photo 2

Alhambra Nievas

Alhambra Nievas photo 1

Alhambra Nievas

2016 Olympic Rugby Referee


Alhambra Nievas Rugby Referee
Chats with us before going to the Olympics
Without Officials it is just a practice!
2016 Gold Medal Referee

November 2016

Another update! Alhambra just became the first woman to win the World Rugby Referee of the Year Award as 2016 co-winner with Rasta Rasivhenge. You can read about it here – Olympic Referees share Referee of the Year Award Congratulations to Alhambra Nievas! What a great year!

August 2016

Congratulations Alhambra on being awarded the 1st ever Rugby Sevens Women’s Olympic Gold Medal Game. I am so happy for you! Jim Game Results

Alhambra Nievas is one of the top elite rugby referees in the world. Male or female.

From Granada Spain, Alhambra is part of a very strong team of international referees that will be representing the sport of rugby in the 2016 Olympic Games. This will be the first time rugby has been played at the Olympics since 1924, and Alhambra and her fellow referee team have all been working very hard to be prepared for the historic return of the sport to the Games.

Between, and during, the 6 Nations and the 7’s World Series, leading up to the excitement in Rio, Alhambra has been Alhambra Nievas photo 2working hard at training with the other Olympic Elites whenever they find an opportunity. Next year will be the 2017 Rugby World Cup in Ireland and a new challenge in the fifteens once the Olympics are finished, but Alhambra is taking everything one step at a time and proving her excellence with every step she takes.

Alhambra was honoured with a nomination for the 2015 World Rugby Referee of the Year Award along with Jerome Garces and Nigel Owens. Not only is this special because it is so rare for women to be recognized on the world stage, but it is particularly remarkable because Nigel Owens is generally regarded as the top sports official in the world across all the different sports. Owens eventually won the award that night, but Alhambra’s nomination was such a huge step forward for female officials in all sports. It was a tremendous achievement by this very friendly and outgoing young lady that was certainly noted by women all over the world.

Alhambra Nievas photo 3Alhambra is very excited to be a part of the Olympic Games. “Being selected for Rio 2016 It is a dream come true.. since I played and now as a referee, I always wish to be part of Olympic Games, so big for all athletes. It is a great opportunity for all of us and now our goal as a Team is to arrive in the best conditions to contribute a successful and amazing tournament, showing the world the unique essence of our sport.Being selected for Rio 2016, it is a dream come true” she told me. “Ever since I played, and now as a referee, I always wished to be part of the Olympic Games.”

Alhambra is also well aware of the responsibility that comes along with the honour of her appointment. “It is so big for all athletes. It is a great opportunity for all of us and now our goal as a Team is to arrive in the best conditions to contribute to a successful and amazing tournament, showing the world the unique essence of our sport.”

These are exciting times for every athlete who has prepared for so many years to make it to the 2016 Olympic Games. The officials are no exception. Only the very best in the world are going to be in the arenas of Rio de Janeiro, and Alhambra Nievas is amongst them. She has earned her spot with a lot of hard work and is a fantastic leader for young officials who will be watching the games and dreaming of the day when they get their chance to run with the best!

Thanks for reading!

Alhambra Nievas Twitter  
Alhambra Nievas Facebook 

A fantastic short video interview with Alhambra by World Rugby is here
There is a nice article, translated from Spanish to English, about the Referee of the Year Nomination here.

Read these Officials101 chats with officials attending the 2016 Olympic Games:

Michelle Joubert Field Hockey 2016 Olympics Women’s Field Hockey Gold Medal Game
Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey
Kylie Seymour Field Hockey 

If you like this article, you may also like these 101 Collections:


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Fanneke Alkemade Olympic FieldHockey Umpire

Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey Umpire

Fanneke Alkemade

Fanneke Alkemade

Fanneke Alkemade

Field Hockey Umpire – Pre Olympic Chat

Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey Umpire
A little chat before heading to the Olympics
Without Officials it is just a practice!

Fanneke Alkemade fhumpire imageFanneke Alkemade is an elite international field hockey umpire from the Netherlands. She has been selected to be an umpire in the Olympics next month in Rio de Janeiro. Many years of hard work and dedication are about to be rewarded with a trip to one of the greatest sports event on the planet.

Fanneke works in the in the pharmaceutical industry doing research and writing papers about drug safety. Currently she is promoting research into Parkinson’s disease as chairwoman of Stichting Alkemade-Keuls. She speaks Dutch, German and English. When she is not busy travelling the world umpiring, she volunteers as a mentor with new umpires working in their first games. It helps the newcomers to get comfortable and build confidence when they first get started.

A number of weeks ago, before I had the blog added to the website, I had the pleasure of a short conversation with Fanneke about the upcoming Olympics in Brazil.

This is Fanneke’s first visit to the Olympics. She has trained hard and travelled many miles to gain the experience and composure it takes to umpire in an event as big as this. Only the very best are even considered for the job and it is a very special appointment that will bring a lifetime of memories. She is “Feeling very excited but also very humble” for the honour of her appointment and the fulfillment ofFanneke Alkemade knhb image june 2016 one of her life dreams.

“Sometimes it still feels unreal that within a couple of months I am an Olympian and umpiring at the Olympic Games becomes a reality!” she told me. The feelings of excitement for the Olympic experience are just as real to the officials as they are to the athletes participating in the games. It is an opportunity of a lifetime that doesn’t come around very often.

This is “where passion, hard work, dedication and fun can lead to” is what Fanneke has to say to the umpires who are working so hard to make their Olympic dreams come true. It is only a few short weeks before Fanneke’s Olympic own dreams will be played out in Rio de Janeiro and she will have a lifetime of stories to share with those new umpires she is helping.

Thanks for reading!

Follow Fanneke Alkemade

Fanneke Alkemade Twitter
Fanneke Alkemade LinkedIn

Fanneke Alkemade – Umpire Career Highlights

Bondsscheidsrechter KNHB
September 2006 – Present (9 years 11 months)

Neutral field hockey umpire. Started in the district Zuid-Holland. Since 2009 umpiring in the women national league (dames hoofdklasse). Since 2013 also umpiring in the men national league (heren hoofdklasse). This combined with the international tournaments mentioned [below].

International umpire indoor – currently Promising List

International Hockey Federation (FIH) January 2012 – Present (4 years 7 months)
International indoor hockey umpire since January 2012.

Experience so far, but not limited to:

– European Championships @ Leipzig
– European Championships @ Prague
– European Club tournaments

International field hockey umpire since January 2012.

Experience so far, but not limited to:


August 2016: Olympic Games @ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2016 Hawke’s Bay Cup @ Hastings
New Zealand 2015 European Championships @ London
UK 2014 Champions Trophy @ Mendoza
Argentina 2014 Champions Challenge @ Glasgow
UK 2013 World League Finals @ Tucuman
Argentina 2013 Junior World Cup @ Monchengladbach
Germany 2012 Champions Challenge @ Dublin
Ireland 2012 European Championships U21 @ Den Bosch
NL Several European club tournaments

If you like this article you may also enjoy these newsfeeds:


You may also enjoy these chats with 2016 Olympic referees and umpires:

Read our chat with FIH Women’s Umpire of the Year Michelle Joubert 2016 Olympic Gold Medal Game
Meet Olympic Rugby Referee Alhambra Nievas 2016 Olympic Gold Medal Game
Meet Kylie Seymour before her first ever Olympic appearance

Links to other articles used as background reading: 
EuroHockey Olympic Umpire announcement
FIH Olympic Umpire announcement

Photo Credits

Fanneke Alkemade

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Michelle Joubert FieldHockey Umpire

Michelle Joubert fieldhockey Umpire of the Year 2015

Michelle Joubert

Michelle Joubert Field Hockey Umpire

Michelle Joubert Hockey Umpire

2016 Olympic Field Hockey Umpire

Michelle Joubert Field Hockey Umpire
Umpire of the Year speaks with us before the Olympics
2016 Gold Medal Umpire

World’s Top FieldHockey Umpire Excited and Ready for Rio

Congratulations Michelle on being awarded the 2016 Gold Medal Game. What a fantastic year you have had. Very exciting to watch! Well done!

Michelle Joubert is an elite international umpire in the sport of FieldHockey. She is the 2015 FIH Women’s International Umpire of the Year Award winner and holder of a Golden Whistle for her first 100 international matches. Michelle Joubert is well prepared for the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

Occasionally, a sport association will be able to produce a team of extraordinary officials. In order to do that it needs a core of extraordinary leaders. Leaders who set the bar high and lead the way. Wise and caring leaders who are willing to share their skills and experiences with others around them. These leaders, these officials, the ones who truly stand out because of their extraordinary personalities and contributions, can have a tremendous impact in their sport on a global basis for years to come. Michelle Joubert is that kind of official.

Michelle Joubert 100th Intl with Marelize de Klerk

Michelle Joubert and Marelize de Klerk

The umpires of Fieldhockey are some of my favourite officials to follow. The people that I have had contact with in this sport and its community have all been so friendly and enthusiastic. They are special and they are great ambassadors for their game. The community is full of fun and friendship and they all truly enjoy their jobs and the relationships they have with each other. It is very much my pleasure to have chatted with many of them and learned from them and about them. They train hard, prepare well and they give everything they have to each match. As a group, there is so much talent in this sport, that becoming the International Umpire of the Year is an incredible achievement. Michelle Joubert is the inaugural recipient of their prestigious award and she has set a very high standard indeed for future umpires to follow.

Michelle Joubert fieldhockey 2015 Umpire of the Year

2015 Umpire of the Year

I first noticed Michelle Joubert in the very early days of Officials101. She was one of the first of many elite umpires and referees to follow the page and certainly the first that really made me take notice of the word ‘elite’. It is her passion and enthusiasm for her sport that are the things you notice first about Michelle but it is her understanding of people and the willingness to share her wisdom that set her apart.

As I write this, Michelle is currently umpiring at the 2016 FIH Champions Trophy in London. You can catch a few glimpses of her in these highlights of the opening match, a 2-2 draw between Argentina and Great Britain. Before she left for London, I asked Michelle what her thoughts are regarding her appointment to the 2016 Olympics.

She told me “It’s an honour to be part of Rio 2016”, and shared some of her insights about what it is like for an umpire to be on the international stage of such a high profile tournament as the Olympic Games.

“Although this tournament is about the athletes competing, us, as officials, also have a huge amount of pressure in ensuring fairness in results and ensuring the best teams end on top.”

It takes years of training and hard work to earn the right to appear as an official at the Olympic Games. As with the Michelle Joubert Linked in profile pic june 2016athletes, only the very best of the best officials will be there. “Mental toughness and physical preparation is key to achieve our goals” she said.

Like the leader she is, Michelle has this note of advice for her Olympic teammates and to the next wave of elite umpires:

 “To the ‘young’ umpires who are embarking on their 1st Olympic Games, I think it is important to be as prepared as best they possibly can, to enjoy the process of preparation and to enjoy this journey. No matter how much or how little you get time on the field, embrace the experience and be grateful for the opportunity. Michelle”

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this page, you may also like these Officials101 Collections:

Field Hockey Umpires 101 Collection  
Hockey Referee 101 Collection 
Olympics Sports Officials 101 Collection
Women’s Sports Officials 101 Collection 

Michelle Joubert Links

Michelle Joubert fieldhockey hockey umpire

Michelle Joubert

Linked In 





You may also enjoy these Officials101 chats with Olympic Officials:

Fanneke Alkemade Field Hockey Umpire 
Alhambra Nievas Rugby Referee 2016 Gold Medal Game
Kylie Seymour Field Hockey Umpire


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2016 Olympic Umpire Announcement

Northern Blues Hockey Association

Northern Blues Hockey AssociationWebsite

Background Articles

Wikipedia 2010 Champions Trophy
EuroHockey Umpire of the Year announcement
Golden Whistle Award
FIH Umpire of the Year announcement
From the Other Side of the Whistle by Michelle Joubert
Michelle Joubert the Player, the Umpire, The Person by Marianna Putter

Photo Credit

The excellent Title Photo was taken by Gaby Mabromata

Visit theGaby Mabromata Websitehere
Visit the Gaby Mabromata Twitter page to Follow

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Please enjoy our FieldHockey Umpire, Michelle Joubert Collection.

Michelle Joubert Collection created by @Officials101T

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