The Kamloops 2018 BC Winter Games kick off today with over 1,200 of BC’s best emerging high performance talents ready to compete.
The 1,229 athletes are from every corner of the province, including a dozen from the Greater Trail area, and have trained hard to earn a place to represent their respective zones at the Games. Competing in 19 different sports, the athletes are an average of 14 years old and for most, this will be their first experience at a multi-sport Games.
Representing Greater Trail (including Trail, Rossland, Montrose, Warfield, and Beaver Valley) are Lea Boiridy-Graves, Holley Heximer, and Natasha Podgumy in biathlon, Andrew Sibbald in diving, Claire Sibbald and Brenna Paulsen in figure skating, Marcus Hamm and Rohan Wink in alpine skiing, and in cross-country skiing: Radek Krampl, Maya Maturo, Abbey McLean, and Johann Taylor-Gregg.
The Games’ athletes will be supported by 342 coaches and 197 officials who have earned their certification in order to provide the best knowledge and expertise to the athletes and the competition.
“Kamloops hosted the very first BC Winter Games, so it is fitting to return to Canada’s Tournament Capital as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations,” said Kelly Mann, President and CEO of the BC Games Society. “The athletes, coaches, and officials will benefit from the extensive event hosting experience in Kamloops. These BC Winter Games and the coinciding Olympic Winter Games will inspire many of these young athletes towards future national and international level competitions.”
Volunteers in Kamloops have been preparing for the past 18 months to host the Games. There will be over 1600 volunteers working to ensure the participants have exceptional competition and a first-rate experience with Opening and Closing Ceremonies, special events, and wonderful hospitality.
“We are ready,” said Niki Remesz, President 2018 Kamloops BC Winter Games. “I am immensely proud of the volunteer team that has invested hundreds of hours to ensure that every athlete, coach, official, and parent has an unforgettable experience in Kamloops. The pinnacle of these Games’ can be credited to 40 years of BC Games success provincially and a labour of love, locally, from our team’s passion and expertise in leading. I’m excited that Kamloops will be the beginning of that story for so many young athletes.”
The BC Winter Games has been the starting point for many athletes who have gone on to higher levels of sport. Fourteen BC Games alumni were named to Team Canada for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games including gold medal bobsled racer Justin Kripps of Summerland, and Kamloops’s very own Josie (Spence) Morrison competing in long track speed skating. Other BC Games alumni include, Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa (Ski Cross) and Whistler’s Teal Harle (Freestyle Skiing).
The BC Winter Games’ Opening Ceremony went on Thursday evening, with the events running from Friday to Sunday.