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Local Special Olympic athletes bring hardware from provincial winter games

Cranbrook Daily Townsman - 3/30/2019

Kimberley/Cranbrook Special Olympics athletes came back glittering in medals from the Special Olympics BC Winter Games.

The games, which took place from Feb. 21 to 23 in Vernon, B.C., saw all of the local athletes come back with at least one medal.

"They were really good," said Joanne Thom, local coordinator

"Four skiers and they all medaled, all of our bowlers medaled and our cross country skier — everybody medaled."

There were athletes competing in five-pin bowling, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing Super G, giant slalom and slalom.

This is the first time the club has sent bowlers to the winter games, as it is usually a summer sport. Kimberley/Cranbrook brought three teams including the Cranbrook Ice who won gold, Kootenay Strikers winning silver and the Pinheads who won bronze in their respective categories.

"We hadn't gone to provincials in bowling with three teams, and we had bowlers on each of our teams be leaders in high-triple, high-single or an individual medal. We had three individual bowlers who did exceptionally well, so that was a bonus," said Thom.

There were also multiple individual medal winners throughout the games.

• Cross-country skiing: Jesse Jensen in 1K race classical (gold), 2.5K race classical (silver) and 500M race classical (silver).

• Alpine Skiing - Super G: Neil Rye men's advanced (gold). Roxanna Podrasky women's intermediate(gold), women's advanced Kendall Salanski (bronze) and Erin Thom women's advanced (fourth).

• Giant slalom: Neil Rye men's advanced (fourth), Roxana Podrasky women's intermediate (fifth), Erin Thom women's advanced (gold) and Kendall Salanski women's advanced (bronze).

• Slalom: Neil Ryle men's advanced (silver), Roxana Podrasky women's intermediate (gold), Erin Thom women's advanced (silver) and Kendall Salanski women's advanced (fourth).

While at the winter games, Thom says the athletes really enjoy the competition and friendship that comes from it.

"The skiers they get to see their friends that they haven't seen for a while. Most of them have been competing together for many years, so they have developed really good friendships over the years," she said.

"My daughter (Erin) in particular, she has skied against some of these people in excess of 25 years — it's pretty special. The coaches and athletes from other parts of the province they all get to know each other pretty well."

All of the athletes put in hard work to come back to being successful on the provincial stage.

Thom explains a lot of the skiers will train twice a week or more and bowlers were having extra training sessions before they headed to the winter games.

From provincials, the Special Olympics will choose who is on Team BC to attend the 2020 Special Olympics Canada National Winter Games that will be held in Thunder Bay, Ont.

"They will go through the results from the winter games. They have their own formula that they pick who will go on," said Thom.

With the winter season coming to an end, most of the participants are multi-sport athletes so they will start to get into the summer sports training.


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