Team Yukon wins big at Indigenous Games

Bringing home 50 medals, Team Yukon almost doubled the number it won in the last North American Indigenous Games.

Bringing home 50 medals, Team Yukon almost doubled the number it won in the last North American Indigenous Games.

Winning 21 golds, 15 silvers and 14 bronzes, Team Yukon finished seventh out of 24 teams from throughout Canada and the US at the Games held last week in Cowichan, BC.

With about 110 participants representing the Yukon, the team was rather small compared to some of the bigger teams that topped the standings.

“The teams that beat us were all the 500-participant teams,” said Team Yukon’s assistant chef de mission, Charly Kelly. “So we were the top in our size.

“This is the most medals we’ve ever gotten at the Games,” she added.

“We are more organized,” said Kelly, explaining why she thinks the Yukon did so well this year. “We have a program that is better in place (this year) that allows the kids to practice and train.”

The most successful athlete at the games for Team Yukon was swimmer Josh Kelly, 14, who medaled in all his events, taking in five golds and a silver.

His golds came in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke and freestyle events, and in the 50-metre freestyle. Surrounded by some controversy, Josh’s silver came in the 50-metre breaststroke.

“There’s a picture and the picture says that I touched first, but they have to go by what the timer said,” explained Josh. “So they originally gave me the gold, but an hour later they called me and told me to bring it back and trade it in for the silver.”

Out of the nine events that Team Yukon competed in, the best results came on the shooting range, where the team took in 28 of its 50 medals, including 15 golds and nine silvers.

“A lot of our shooters did well … nine out of 10 (of them) received medals,” said Team Yukon’s shooting coach Darcy Marcotte. “I’m blown away. We did awesome!”

Marcotte’s daughters led the charge in the girls’ division. Danielle Marcotte, 15, won four gold medals in the midget class and her little sister Kyley, 13, won three golds and a silver in the bantam class.

Danielle, a Canadian junior champion who has competed in four international events this year, earning her the world ranking of 14th, had the second-highest score of the Games, being surpassed by someone from the men’s division.

Her little sister, Kyley, may have taken a fourth gold but she ran into some bad luck.

“Kyley would have came home with another gold,” said Darcy. “But she broke a firing pin.”

This meant that the young shooter had to switch to a different, heavier gun, which may have affected her aim.

On the boys’ side of the shooting team, James Magum, 13, and Tavis Sturko, 16, each won golds in four events.

Team Saskatchewan finished first with 243 medals, 100 more than second-place Ontario. Team Alberta finished third with 124 medals.

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