Delta athletes had a strong showing at the 2023 Special Olympics BC Winter Games.
Roughly 500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 40 B.C. and Yukon communities came together in Kamloops Feb. 2-4 to compete in eight sports: five-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.
The Games, Special Olympics BC’s first in four years after a pause forced by the pandemic, were made possible with the support of more than 100 volunteer coaches and mission staff, over 700 dedicated event volunteers, and sponsors and supporters throughout the province.
“The event was absolutely amazing. Kamloops volunteers jumped in and pulled it off — and not only pulled it off but got amazing feedback that this was one of the best Games ever,” 2023 SOBC Games organizing committee chair Jan Antons said in a press release.
“To see the joy of the athletes and volunteers and everyone around was a really great experience.”
Fourteen Delta athletes competed at the Games, taking home medals in five sports.
Tyler Coe won gold for the highest total score among male bowlers with 1,002 points.
Coe and his Team Delta teammates David Lebedovich of Delta, Darrin Greenstein and Kerry Lamb of White Rock, and Ivy Snow of Surrey also took home silver in the Blue Division with a combined score of 3,663. Vernon won gold with a score of 3,904, while the Cowichan Valley Knockouts took home bronze with 3,613 followed by the Oceanside Pin Destroyers in fourth with 3,243.
Alpine skier Cory Duhaime finished the games with a trio of silver medals in the men’s advanced giant slalom (with a time of 1:22.80), advanced super-G (0:36.60) and advanced slalom (1:33.70).
Duhaime finished just behind Revelstoke’s Yorke Parkin in all three events. Parkin’s gold medal-winning times were 1:20.60 (giant slalom), 0:36.30 (super-G) and 1:17.00 (slalom).
North Vancouver’s Jesse Price took home bronze in the giant slalom with a time of 1:25.50, Jordan Ewert of Kelowna won bronze in the super-G with a time of 0:38.20, and Rossland’s Scott Simister claimed bronze in the slalom with a time of 1:35.20.
Three Delta curlers competing on two Burnaby teams came away with gold medals.
Artisia Wong and Kim Davies took top honours in the Blue Division along with their Burnaby Wildcats teammates Mary Armstrong, April Armstrong and Suzanne Armstrong, all of Burnaby. Team Abbotsford took home silver, Team Yukon won bronze, and the Terrace Spirit Bears came in fourth.
Over in the Red Division, Chelsea Kaake won gold with the Burnaby Wolves alongside teammates Dominic Inacio of Vancouver, Bridget Colvin of Coquitlam, and Burnaby’s Alex Edwards and Jenny Chang. Campbell River Curl Jam won silver, Prince George Fire on Ice won bronze, and Kamloops 1 came in fourth.
Delta-born Marc Theriault, now of Surrey, claimed two gold medals in figure skating: one in level 6 lead solo dance and one in the open men’s freeskate, the latter over Vancouver’s Anthony Lu.
Team Delta missed the podium in floor hockey, finishing fourth in the round-robin Green Division tournament with one win in four games. Mission won gold, while Kelowna took home silver, Richmond the bronze, and Kamloops came in fifth.
Seven of the 14 athletes on Team Delta hail from the city: Andy Chan, Coby Dandridge, Dalton Boon, Marshall Obratoski, Paul Scholefield, Scott Fattedad and Travis Meyer. Also on the team are Alexander Mason and Doug Birdsall of Surrey; Connor McCracken, Joey Conrad and Ben Harrison of Burnaby; Cole Fortin of New Westminster, and Ryan Isaac (no hometown listed).
Also at the games were eight coaches who hail from Delta: Michael Duhaime (head coach, alpine skiing, Region 3), Doug Henderson (head coach, five-pin bowling, Region 4), David Shorter (head coach, curling, Region 4), Lauren Howlett (head coach, floor hockey, Region 4), Jenni Duhaime (assistant coach, alpine skiing, Region 4), Mark Smith (assistant coach, curling, Region 4), Anne Howlett (assistant coach, floor hockey, Region 4) and Joan Hayes (assistant coach, floor hockey, Region 4).
For B.C. and Yukon athletes, the 2023 SOBC Games are the qualifier for the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, which will be hosted in Calgary, Alta. Members of the Special Olympics Team BC 2024 Training Squad will be announced at a future date.
The next Special Olympics BC Winter Games will take place in Prince George in 2025.
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