Special Olympian Michael Sumner gives it his all

Eighteen-year-old Michael Sumner competed hard and had a good time doing it. “I’m feeling good, no matter if I win or lose,” said Sumner. “It’s just if I have fun and try hard, and if I have fun with what I’m doing.”

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Sumner competed hard and had a good time doing it. That’s what matters most to him.

“I’m feeling good, no matter if I win or lose,” said Sumner. “It’s just if I have fun and try hard, and if I have fun with what I’m doing.”

The Yukon figure skater came away with a third-place finish in the Special Olympics Level 2 solo male division at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George on Wednesday.

Sumner took second in the elements program on Monday and third in the free for third overall.

He finished one point behind B.C. skaters Matthew Lai and Eric Pahima, who tied for first and both received gold medals. The Games council decided that in an event like this, in which only three athletes compete, medals would only be awarded to the top two finishers.

“It felt good to me,” said Sumner of his free program, which had a Robin Hood theme. “I felt like I was stronger. I had my arms up higher and I think the judges enjoyed it.”

Sumner was denied a medal in Prince George, but he’s not returning to Whitehorse empty-handed. Just last week Sumner skated to silver at the Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops, in what was his first time competing at Level 2.

“He had a great skate (in Prince George). I think he had a better skate than at provincials,” said Yukon coach Michelle Semaschuk. “I think everyone stepped up, the other boys had very good skates as well. It was tough competition.

“This is his second competition in the last week. It’s been a really busy and tiring week, but he did great and I’m really proud of him. And I know everyone at home is proud of him.”

Sumner’s medal from Kamloops won’t be without company at home. He won a gold at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in 2012. With that top finish he earned a position on Team Canada for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea, where he won silver. He was also on Yukon’s first-ever gold-winning soccer team at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

“It has been simply amazing,” said Sumner. “I cannot be anywhere in Canada except for here because this is an awesome experience.

“I’m going to watch (Yukon’s) Rachel Pettitt skate tomorrow and maybe watch hockey or a different sport for the next couple days.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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