Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Special Olympics Team Canada set for 2017 World Games

28 February 2017

The countdown to competition has begun, as 108 Special Olympics Canada athletes with intellectual disabilities, plus 35 volunteer mission staff and coaches, prepare and train for their trip to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria March 14 to 25.

Special Olympics Team Canada, the third-largest team at the Games, will compete in six different sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.

The team members from British Columbia are:

  • Abbotsford’s Paige Norton (athlete, speed skating) and Donna Bilous (Head Coach, speed skating)
  • Burnaby’s Darren Inouye (mission staff, figure skating)
  • Campbell River’s Maureen Hunter (coach, snowshoeing)
  • Cranbrook’s Roxana Podrasky, Erin Thom, and Jonathan Robins (athletes, alpine skiing)
  • North Delta’s Marc Theriault (Special Olympics BC – Surrey athlete, figure skating)
  • Fort St. John’s Darlene Jakubowski (athlete, figure skating)
  • Langley’s Matthew Williams (athlete, speed skating) and Elizabeth Roman (Special Olympics BC – Surrey coach, figure skating)
  • Kelowna’s Tracey Melesko and Francis Stanley (athletes, cross country skiing), Tony Wilkinson (athlete, snowshoeing), David Wilkinson (coach, snowshoeing), and Garth Vickers (coach/wax technician, cross country skiing)
  • New Westminster’s Mark Schnurr (Special Olympics BC – Coquitlam coach, alpine skiing)
  • Nanaimo’s Dennis Lynch (athlete, cross country skiing)
  • Penticton’s Ray Huson (coach, cross country skiing)
  • Squamish’s Randy Scott (Special Olympics BC – North Shore Head Coach, alpine skiing)
  • Surrey’s Susan Wang (athlete, alpine skiing)
  • Vancouver’s Alexander Pang (athlete, figure skating)
  • Vernon’s Justin Sigal (athlete, cross country skiing)
  • Victoria’s Michael Langridge (athlete, alpine skiing)

They qualified for Team Canada 2017 through their performances with Team BC at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland and Labrador.

And a big shoutout to alpine skier Katherine St. Amand, who competed in the Games cycle as a Special Olympics Alberta athlete but recently joined SOBC by moving to Maple Ridge! St. Amand, a 10-year veteran of Special Olympics programs, is proud to have been part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg at the last World Games. She credits Special Olympics with allowing her to be more open, to meet more friends, to be more social, and not as shy. She is honoured to be named to Team Canada and is excited to compete in alpine skiing. In her spare time, she enjoys reading.

Recent media coverage of Team Canada members from B.C. includes:

“Our Team Canada athletes, coaches, and mission staff are well prepared for this year’s World Winter Games,” said Marian Coulson, Chef de Mission for Special Olympics Team Canada. “The passion and skill level of our team is unmatched; we expect great results at these Games and, as always, a lasting impact on communities across the country.”

One of the world’s largest sporting and humanitarian events to be held in 2017, the World Games in Austria is a nine-day competition bringing together 3,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 1,100 coaches from as many as 110 countries. Learn more at www.austria2017.org

“I am very proud to be involved in Special Olympics Canada as Honorary Coach,” says Olympic and world champion figure skater Jamie Salé, who will accompany the athletes to Austria. “It is incredible to witness the role of sport in empowering individuals and transforming lives. We encourage all Canadians to rally behind our Special Olympics athletes for these games and to support local programs throughout the year.”

“We are very proud of our Team Canada athletes, staff, and coaches,” says Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada. “Our programs reach far beyond just competitions and world class athletes, taking us into communities across the country, enriching the daily lives of over 42,000 Canadians with an intellectual disability (ID), through the transformative power of sport.”

Key dates:

  • Host Town: 14-17 March
  • Opening Ceremony: 18 March
  • Games Time: 19-23 March
  • Closing Ceremony: 24 March

Watch coverage on TSN:

Longtime Special Olympics Canada national partner TSN will air the Games Opening Ceremony LIVE on March 18 on TSN2, plus highlights March 19 to 26!

Click here for dates (*please check local listings for times)

Follow Team Canada:

TeamCanada.SpecialOlympics.ca

Facebook and Twitter @SpecialOCanada

Hashtag #SOTeamCanada17 or #ÉquipeOSCanada17

Learn more about team members from B.C.:

www.specialolympics.bc.ca/news/Team%20Canada%202017

Team Canada alpine skier Katherine St. Amand, an Alberta native now with SOBC! Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Alberta.

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