Trail athletes medal at Games

The Games turned out to be a huge success for everyone including a strong BC contingent and a pair of Greater Trail athletes.

A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of athletes who competed at the 2016 Canada Special Olympic Winter Games in Corner Brook, Nfld. last week.

The Games turned out to be a huge success for everyone including a strong BC contingent and a pair of Greater Trail athletes.

SOBC-Trail sent two athletes to the games and both performed spectacularly. Montrose’s Will Thatcher captured silver and bronze in snowshoeing, while Trail’s Jake Miller stick handled to a silver medal in floor hockey with his Kootenay Storm team.

Thatcher sprinted to silver in the M3 400-metre race, one of the most challenging events in snowshoeing, and took home bronze in the 200-metre sprint at the Blow Me Down Cross Country Ski Club.

Rain made conditions challenging at the outdoor events, cancelling some events Thursday, but organizing committee chair Len Moores told the CBC that an extra day was added to make up for delays.

It was the power of the volunteers that kept things moving, Moores said, and made sure the athletes had a great experience.

“We had planned that we might lose a day of weather for snow, but not necessarily for rain,” said Moores. “We needed support over at the cross-country ski club and I’m told 60to 70 volunteers came forward to shovel snow back onto the course.”

Rain didn’t bother Miller or a Storm team that played inside the Cornerbrook Civic Centre Annex. After some preliminary matches, the Kootenay Storm rolled over the Vancouver Storm 7-2 in their opening match last Thursday in which Miller notched a hat trick. On Saturday, the Storm then humbled Team Ontario 5-1, before shutting out the Alberta Cougars 16-0 to end the round robin.

But as the top seed in the Red Division, Kootenay would fall to the Vancouver Storm 3-2 in the final to take home the silver medal.

“Vancouver was a tough team,” said Miller. “But it was awesome. I made some new friends from different places … and it was amazing winning the medal.”

Miller said he enjoyed himself at the week-long event and that he was proud to represent Trail. And while the competition was exciting, he was particularly impressed with the Newfoundland hospitality.

“The opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies were amazing, and the dance,” he added. “It was awesome.”

Athletes from 12 provinces and territories competed in seven different sports including alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, floor hockey, curling, figure skating and speed skating. BC won 41 gold, 44 silver, and 33 bronze for a total of 120 medals. The Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games are a qualifier for the 2017 Special Olympics World Games in Austria next March.