Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Athlete April Armstrong

22 November 2017

Special Olympics BC is in April Armstrong’s blood.

Armstrong, her father Darrell, her mother Suzanne, and her older sister Mary are all proud SOBC – Burnaby athletes. Armstrong says it’s fun to be a Special Olympics family because they all support and learn from each other.

“That’s the really good part of having a family with Special O, you get tips and tricks and inside scoops on things,” Armstrong says.

When Armstrong was young, she would go with her sister to watch their parents participate in practices and competitions. Armstrong said seeing her parents compete and have a great time with other athletes made her want to join SOBC.

“They were the influence for my sister and me to start with Special Olympics,” Armstrong says.

A talented and hardworking athlete, Armstrong has participated in many sports over her time with SOBC. Currently, she does track and field with her dad, basketball with her dad and sister, and curling and Club Fit with her mom and her sister.

Armstrong says her family members are great teammates and she loves playing sports with them, but it can get competitive. As an example, she says her dad will often try and outrace her on the track.

“My dad tries to beat me, but it’s not possible – but he tries,” Armstrong says.

To Armstrong, Special Olympics means friendship, sportsmanship, and having fun. She says her family members feel the same way, and they have built a large network of friends with SOBC. She says it’s a lot of fun to go to Provincial Games and big SOBC events because they know a lot of athletes and volunteers from all over British Columbia.

Armstrong is a friendly, outgoing person with a great sense of humour, but when she gets on the track she becomes very serious and focused. She loves to meet new people at competitions, but she saves the socializing for after her races have finished.

“On the track I am very competitive. I don’t talk. I do my thing, and that’s it. Off the track I am buddy-buddy with all the other athletes,” she says.

Armstrong posted stellar results at the 2017 SOBC Summer Games, earning four gold medals in track and field events. Through her outstanding performances at Provincial Games, she qualified to compete as a member of Team BC in the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This is set to be her third National Games.

Armstrong says competing on the national level is always a thrill because it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and she loves the high level of competition. She says she is also looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in Nova Scotia.

“I know a lot of the people I am going against because of the last National Games, so I know what I’m up against. But there are some new people I met at Canada Games, too,” she said.

Armstrong has had some wonderful experiences at National Games, and she says one of her favourite memories with Special Olympics came after she captured a silver medal in athletics at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver. She says it was her first National Games medal, so it was a big deal for her.

“I was on the podium and all I see is my sister, my dad, and my mom freaking out. It was kind of funny because my sister lost her voice,” Armstrong said. “It was fun seeing them cheer!”

Armstrong is currently working hard to train for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games. She says basketball and Club Fit are helping her maintain her level of fitness, and she is looking forward to starting track and field practices in the new year. She says her goal is to be the best she can be in Nova Scotia. She is also hoping to improve on her medal count and race times from the last National Games, and she would love to achieve a personal best.

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